Establishing Best Practices to Improve Usefulness and Usability of Web Interfaces Providing Atmospheric Data

Oakley, Nina S. ; Daudert, Britta

Année de publication
Accessing scientific data and information through an online portal can be a frustrating task, often because of the fact that they were not built with the user’s needs in mind. The concept of making web interfaces easy to use, known as “usability,” has been thoroughly researched in the field of e-commerce but has not been explicitly addressed in the atmospheric and most other sciences. As more observation stations are installed, satellites flown, models run, and field campaigns performed, data are continuously produced. Portals on the Internet have become the favored mechanisms for sharing this information and are ever increasing in number. Portals are often created without being explicitly tested for usability with the target audience though the expenses of testing are low and the returns high. To remain competitive and relevant in the provision of atmospheric information, it is imperative that developers understand design elements of a successful portal to make their product stand out among others. This work informs the audience of the benefits and basic principles of usability that can be applied to web pages presenting atmospheric information. We will also share some of the best practices and recommendations we have formulated from the results of usability testing performed on a data provision site designed for researchers in the Southwest Climate Science Center and hosted by the Western Regional Climate Center.

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