USER PERCEPTION OF THE AFFECT COMPONENT OF THE USABILITY OF PSYCINFO DATABASE
Medgar Evers College - City University of New York (UNITED STATES)
The focus of the present paper is on the Affect component of the Usability evaluation of the PsycInfo database. This Usability testing in this research is focused on the User Perception. Oulanov and Pajarillo (2001, 2002, 2003), Oulanov (2008a, 2008b), and El-Halees (2014) emphasize the importance of User Focus, evaluating the Usability of Lexis-Nexis, CUNY+, Business Source Premier, and the Website of the Central Bank of Russia. Shneiderman (1998) postulated that User Focus should be the cornerstone of the Usability research, including the research on Affect. The User Focus succeeded the Systems’ Focus that was focusing more on Information Systems and often disregarding the User Perception (Oulanov, 2008b).The recent trends in Usability research suggest that users should be able to use the system intuitively (Oulanov, 2008b). The system with an advanced state of Usability should be easily perceived and internalized by the user, without exercising any significant effort. The help of an intermediary like a librarian or information specialist should not be necessary. Also, ideally, the user should not be checking the Help file very often. If the user feels comfortable using the system intuitively, then the Affect assessment should reflect this state. Classical Pretest-Posttest Control Group research design was utilized for the present study. Participants were asked to fill out the same survey twice, as a Pretest and Posttest. Before completing the Pretest they were asked to perform some tasks in order to familiarize themselves with the information system. The intervention was introduced in form of the online instructional videos on how to use the database. The Control Group had videos on the subject related to the subject of the tasks, which was a placebo, but seemed to be relevant. As a placebo it did not provide any instructions or training on how to use PsycInfo.
The assessment of the Affect as a component of the Usability testing in the present study produced the results similar to the ones present in the earlier research (Oulanov and Pajarillo, 2001, 2002, 2003; Oulanov, 2008a, 2008b). The advantage of the present research included comparison of the User Perception before the intervention in form of the detailed instruction and after this intervention. The previous studies were simpler in their design. They only included cross-sectional one-time Usability analyses. Being more in-depth, the present study demonstrates that the detailed instruction on how to use the database efficiently does not result in users’ change of the perception of the system’s use over the original intuitive system’s use. Therefore, the system is perceived by the user as highly intuitive, and, hence, possesses the superb Usability. The present study elevated the Usability testing on a new level by assessing the possible differences or absence thereof between User Perception of the information system’ intuitive use and by the use resulted from the training, which would give a new perspective on the Usability of the system. This study showed that in case of the PsychInfo, the User Perception of the Usability does not change with the attempted change in the expertise of the user. This indicates that the Usability of PsychInfo on the EBSCO platform is of such a superior level and the system is designed in such a way that it can be used intuitively by a regular user, not requiring any additional investment in the training and developing of any additional expertise.