At the Click of a Button
Assessing the User Experience of Open Access Finding Tools
A number of browser extension tools have emerged in the past decade aimed at helping information seekers find open versions of scholarly articles when they hit a paywall, including Open Access Button, Lazy Scholar, Kopernio, and Unpaywall. While librarians have written numerous reviews of these products, no one has yet conducted a usability study on these tools. This article details a usability study involving six undergraduate students and six faculty at a large public research university in the United States. Participants were tasked with installing each of the four tools as well as trying them out on three test articles. Both students and faculty tended to favor simple, clean design elements and straightforward functionality that enabled them to use the tools with limited instruction. Participants familiar with other browser extensions gravitated towards tools like Open Access Button, whereas those less experienced with other extensions preferred tools that load automatically, such as Unpaywall.
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Copyright (c) 2020 Elena Azadbakht and Teresa Schultz
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