Assessing the User Experience on Gale Products





Our user experience research typically begins with observation and interviews. Researchers observe students, instructors, and librarians in their natural environment, learning more about the context of library database usage. Better understanding these behaviors and context allow us to design solutions that fit into the researcher’s workflow more seamlessly.

After observation, we conduct story mapping and develop personas based on those interviews—we may develop as many as 30 personas! We classify those personas into primary, secondary, and tertiary personas. We consider how the persona does research step-by-step and what we need to do to support those persona’s tasks. Prioritizing our design and development work around the primary persona keeps us laser-focused on their user experience.


Features have been promoted based on user experience research. Supporting integrations with services like Google Drive has made a significant positive impact on users, especially those in K-12 classrooms. As a result, we have made the option to save an article to Google Drive more prominent in the interface. We’ve also been making significant upgrades aimed at improving the user experience for users with disabilities.



About the Author

Heather Hedden is a senior vocabulary editor at Gale, where she edits the subject thesaurus and other metadata for the indexing and retrieval of Gale research database content and develops discipline taxonomies for educational products. Heather is currently a member of the board of the American Society for Indexing, is author of The Accidental Taxonomist (Information Today Inc., 2010, 2016), and blogs at

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