Usability Project

My website of choice is the University of Alabama's Library website. For my representative users, I would like to have a variety of patrons. I would choose patrons of different status (faculty, staff, undergraduate, graduate) and would also like to test different types of computer users (digital natives and digital immigrants). Another aspect of users I would like to test are those who are already familiar with the UA library's website and those who have never used the site before. My test involves the patron's feedback between using the classic catalog vs. using the catalog with Discovery search. Discovery search used to be an option when choosing a search preference, but now it is the main search that shows up on the homepage on the library's website. I would like to collect data from those who are familiar with the "classic search" and their input on learning a new method for searching for their material. Also, I would like to test the user who isn't familiar with either search and gather their input on which one they prefer. Between the digital native and digital immigrant, I would like to see which system suits them the best, and which one is easier for them to maneuver. The test would include 5 tasks which will be assigned using both the classic search and the discovery search in the catalog. Here is a list of 5 tasks to be performed:
1) Search for the book Emma
2) Search for the German Economic Review
3) Look for the German Journal of Psychiatry
4) Look for a book about John Lennon
5) Look for a book by David Wessel  
Each of these tasks show a variety of types of information. Whether it be a book search, author search, or journal search, the results include annex materials, online resources, bound periodicals, books, and video materials. The best method of monitoring the patron would be through a video camera. If a video camera isn't possible, another method would be having the representative user perform the task in the presence of the instructor. Once the tasks are completed, there are a few possibilities to gather the user's input. First is a survey or questionnaire. Questions could include: Do you prefer the classic or discovery search and why? Which task was the most difficult and why? Which task was easiest/ most beneficial and why? There could also be some provided space for comments about each question, and if the user had any particular input in their experiences using both search methods.
Another method could be an exit interview with the instructor, where the user would provide their input face to face. The instructor would be able to talk to the user about each task personally, and may receive more input from the user than the exit surveys. When reporting my findings, I would give the percentage results of which product is preferred. I would follow up with the input provided by patrons, giving the pros and cons for each search method. In order to make recommendations to the website authors/designers/managers, I would present my findings from the usability test and show the percentages and the pros and cons for each search method.