Usability Evaluation: UNC Lifetime Library

UNC School of Information Science provides a service called The Lifetime Library that is a cloud-based storage and archiving system intended to give students and alumni "lifetime" access to data. As part of a usability evaluation course at UNC, I worked with a group of 3 other students to create and conduct a usability evaluation of The Lifetime Library.

Chart from Lifetime Library report (1 of 2)
For 3 out of 4 tasks, users were confident in completing the task. Task 3 shows there is some room for improvement in providing users with confidence (probably through better UI feedback).


Users performed 4 tasks, answered post-task questions, and answered a post-session questionnaire that consisted of the System Usability Score (SUS). This provided quantitative and qualitative data regarding performance and affective perspective of the users' experiences. One such affective measure was confidence—even if a user successfully performs a task, designers want to be assured that the user is confident they successfully completed. Doubting one is successful is only slightly "better" than not being successful at all. The converse is problematic as well—in our study 3 out of 4 users failed to complete one of the tasks, but all of them thought they had completed it.

Chart from Lifetime Library report (2 of 2)
Most users felt they were completing a task in the amount of time it should have taken. It would have been a concern if users felt completing a task took much too long, even if they were succesful.


Our research showed some design improvements were needed around labeling and feedback in the user interface of The Lifetime Library. The report was given to the Dean of the School of Information Science as a source of suggestions for future work on the software.