Methods Example: Log Analysis

Open Video Digital Video Library Interface Redesign

Purpose: In 2004, I led a small team in the redesign of the Open Video digital library. We used data from transaction logs, surveys, and other sources of feedback to rethink how people were using the site and how we could redesign it to better meet their needs. After the redesigned site was made public, I wanted to assess how people were using several newly-implemented features.

Method: A custom transaction log was implemented to capture the site pages and videos visited in a user session, which type of video preview surrogates were viewed, which search results display format(s) were selected, and which search results ordering and size of result set options were selected. Descriptive statistics were used to determine popularity of these features, as well as various session characteristics, such as the average number of pages and videos viewed in a session.

Results: The first four months of user activity after the site redesign were analyzed, covering 69,589 unique site visits and 140,135 video downloads. Not surprisingly, most of the site activity occurred on the three page types that support gathering, sifting, and evaluating videos. Users were more interested in finding videos by popularity than either recency or randomness. Of the non-default search result layouts, viewing by small thumbnails was most popular, and when changing ordering criteria, year and popularity were the most frequent choices.

My Role: As the primary designer/developer for the project, I was significantly involved in all stages of the redesign and implemented the redesigned web site. I created the custom logging infrastructure and did all data analysis and presentation of the findings.

Related Information

Geisler, G. & Hughes, A. (2004). The Open Video Project: Redesigning a Digital Video Digital Library [presentation]. Presented at theAmerican Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) Information Architecture Summit.
Project description: The Open Video Digital Library

Other Log Analysis Studies

ID Images Search Term Analysis
An in-progress analysis of one year's log of search terms entered by users of a pilot site that is the basis for a major redesign project called eMicrobes. This analysis will aid in fine-tuning search and browse mechanisms for the redesigned site, a digital library for teaching and learning about infectious diseases.