Hyku End-User Usability Report

Anonymous Schools Grid (2)As part of the Reducing Barriers to Hyku Adoption 2021-2023 IMLS grant, the Hyku for Consortia team partnered with Aestiva Solutions to continue user research defining areas for improvement in Hyku.  This study focused on end-user usability of the shared multi-tenant repository Hyku Commons.

Aestiva Solutions was tasked with answering the following research questions: 

  1. Are different personas of users able to complete basic tasks using Hyku interfaces?
  2. Does the interface serve users across the wide variety of use cases for Hyku?
  3. What common issues do users have when navigating Hyku interfaces?
  4. What overall design thoughts do users have about Hyku interfaces?
  5. What are some quick wins that could add value to Hyku interfaces?


Aestiva Solutions performed a usability study on several tenants of Hyku Commons from December 2022 to February 2023. All schools currently part of the Hyku for Consortia project were invited to join the study and 5 schools participated. A total of 13 undergraduate students, 6 graduate students, 4 librarians, and 7 faculty members participated in the study. In addition to traditional usability tasks, users were given 5 seconds to form an opinion of a Hyku tenant and asked to do a card sort task with facets. 


All three personas (faculty, students, and librarians) successfully completed the assigned tasks, with only one undergraduate student failing at their task. Students struggled most with the search results page. 

Participants generally liked the interface, calling it simple, clean, easy to use, intuitive, uncluttered, and user-friendly. 93% said they would use it to find information, 90% said it was easy to use, and 87% said that it loaded quickly.

“I liked that it is very simple and doesn't have that many buttons. Everything is intuitive and aligns with other search engines I've used before.” - Undergraduate student


However, only 57% of participants found the interface to be visually appealing. When asked, “If you could make one change to this interface, what would it be?” many users suggested design improvements to the interface.   

“I would make it more visually appealing.” - Graduate student


Aestiva Solutions offered 18 suggestions from users to improve the interface, as well as 3 bug fixes and 5 other suggestions for improvement. The suggestions ranked with the highest priority were:

  • Remove the extraneous white spaces in the interface, most notably on the collection pages. 
  • Change the header font for the collections to not default to floating white. 
  • Add a publication date filter.
  • Once the publication date filter is in place, remove the date uploaded/date modified sort options from the search screen and replace them with a Sort by date created.

The report also includes recommended local settings and content for homepage tabs.

View the full report: https://bit.ly/HykuforConsortiaUX   

Next Steps

The next step for the Hyku for Consortia team, currently underway, is to create a list of possible developments stemming from the report and its suggestions.  Next, Hyku Commons users will complete a prioritization survey for those items, and the team will work with developers at Software Services by Scientist.com to finalize tickets for a front-end-based development sprint.  Stay tuned for resulting improvements from that sprint this summer.

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