The IHR Blog |

BHO Issue 8: ‘It is not clear what the top sources are’

by

Page

Listings

Heuristic

Learnability

Description

A page listing sources for a specific taxonomy dimension will list the most relevant sources at the top. However, they are visually indistinct from sources which contain a lower quantity of relevant content.

Impact severity

Medium

Recommend

Prominence to be given to sources which occupy the top n positions, possibly through a gallery device, after which sources have clearly lower relevance.

Examples

For Scotland, the list of sources moves from the Topographical Dictionary of Scotland to local records from Cumberland without any presentational cue. The underlying weighting figure drops by nearly 90% at that point.

Green indicates the most relevant for Scotland

 

Quantitative measure

Click on ALL of the records on this page which you feel are directly relevant to Scottish affairs

Actual question

Please click on the LOWEST record on this page which you feel is directly relevant to Scottish affairs

Initial click test result (‘before’)

July 2011, 200 responses.

‘Before’

 

Development change

Descriptions of the five major source types were amended (Sources on British History Online).

 

Using a background colour (no doubt an accessibility issue)

Follow-up click test result (‘after’)

September 2011, 154 responses.

‘After’

 

Reflection

Almost identical click patterns so the visual cue seems to be unnecessary here; plus, it would difficult to explain why sources appear in the highlighted panel or not without recourse to editorial guidelines (which themselves are often a matter of personal taste amongst users) and statistical calculation. It looks thankfully like this is less of an issue than we believed but we do need to trace this issue back to ensure we haven’t missed something.