As many of you may know, The National Archives has launched a beta product called Discovery. Discovery is not only a replacement for our current catalogue, but it will eventually provide a platform to enable searching across the many different databases and datasets held at the archives.
The aim of Discovery is to create an effective and enjoyable user interface through an understanding of who our customers are: their tasks, expectations, capabilities, limitations, preferences and context of use. The best interfaces are known to not only support goals and tasks but also recommend interactions that extends users’ activity in ways that makes their journey more effective and satisfying.
To achieve this, our design and development process has involved users from outset and where feasible, as active participants. We have used multiple methods over the last few years, such as interviews, diary studies, surveys, workshops, focus groups, web log analysis and user testing to acquire understanding and empathy towards the needs of our customers.