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Usability beyond the interface: designing a portal for text analysis

Joan Cherry, Wendy Duff and Luanne Freund

(Submission #81)


Summary

The Text Analysis Portal for Research (TAPoR) is the result of a $6M collaborative research project carried out by groups at six Canadian universities, including the University of Toronto [http://tapor.mcmaster.ca]. The main goal of the project was the creation of a web portal to provide humanities researchers with tools and e-texts to perform sophisticated textual analysis. As part of the University of Toronto group, we undertook a usability study of the TAPoR portal. The goal of the study was to provide user-centred input to support iterative re-design of the portal. We interpret usability broadly as, “the effective and efficient use of systems in real-world settings, based on a complex interplay of technical, human and social factors” [3]. This approach allowed us to investigate how humanities scholars conduct text analysis research, with the aim of identifying how the portal might best serve their needs.

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