October 31, 2012 by Amanda Visconti

DH Evaluation: A Four-Part Series on User Testing Your DH Work

DH evaluation! I wrote my iSchool master’s thesis on evaluating and serving audiences for digital humanities archives (full text available here; my advisor was Professor Paul Conway), and my nascent Ph.D. dissertation will incorporate user testing of my own digital literary code as well as suggest some best practices for DH user testing on a limited budget. Given this background, I’ll be publishing for the next three four days on user testing, an area of evaluation that foregrounds the user--the use, usefulness, and usability of your digital work for a given audience. It's my hope to make each of these posts applicable to people working on small budgets and/or on their own. The posts in this series are:

  1. Wednesday, October 31st: Quick and Dirty DH User Testing
  2. Thursday, November 1st: The Amateur in the Archive: Toward a Wider Audience for Your DH Project
  3. Friday, November 2nd: DH User Testing: What’s Been Done? (Adding to a Growing List)
  4. Saturday, November 3rd: Testing DH Sites: More on Use, Usability, and Usefulness

The posts cover "quick and dirty", practical ways of making your DH project more user-aware; an argument for designing DH projects that serve not only scholars, but also a wider, public-DH audience of "amateurs"; a description of a use study run on amateur users of digital humanities archives; existing examples of DH user testing by researchers from different backgrounds, on different types of audiences; and choicemaking about evaluating use, usefulness, or usability for your DH work.

Follow this blog this way. You might also want to check my crossposts of these blogs over on HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory), which have received some comments with additional resources for DH user testing.