Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Associated results

TRIP typically gets an overhaul once a year and ahead of changes for early 2012 we've started a series of surveys asking people what they like and don't like about TRIP.  I've already posted three posts on the first round of results (see here, here and here).  This allowed me to draw up a list of proposed changes which I've discussed with the TRIP techie - Phil.  As a result of this discussion I started a second round of questions, to probe some of the issues raised in the first round of questions. 

One area of real interest is the 'Associated results' on the right-hand side of the TRIP results page (image below).




















These are resources that could be useful to a user, but are not a core part of the TRIP index.  These are problematic for a few reasons:

  • They increase the time it takes for the page to load.
  • It's not scalable, in that we could put many more resources there - but it wouldn't work.
  • It looks messy.
So, one question I asked in the 2nd survey was "One area we're looking at are the results on the right-hand side that link to clinical trials, PubMed, BNF etc. We're thinking they may be distracting, after all you're coming to TRIP for the great set of main results. So, which of these sounds best?"

I think I was hoping that most would indicate that they don't use them and we could, perhaps, relegate them to the bottom of the results page.  But, and reinforcing why it's useful to ask your users, here are the results so far:
  • Leave them alone, they're great and I use them all the time - 15.8%
  • Leave them alone, they're useful and I use them from time to time - 52.6%
  • Remove them completely I rarely/never use them - 2.6%
  • Make them less prominent e.g. at the bottom of the results so they can be used if the answer can't be found in TRIP - 28.9%
So, nearly 70% of users want them left alone!  This creates a dilemma as to how to increase the number of associated results yet still use no more space.  I have some ideas (e.g. use a table or buttons that shows results only when clicked) but one to be worked through with our designers.

Irrespective of the outcome - I'm really glad I asked!