Usability Evaluation: Balboa Park Online Commons

Balboa Park Online Commons screenshot


San Diego’s Balboa Park contains more cultural organizations in one place than any location in the United States except the National Mall in Washington D.C. The Balboa Park Online Commons brings together the rich and diverse resources of Balboa Park’s institutions into a single, publicly accessible digital library.

While much work had gone into the back-end systems and metadata for the Balboa Park Online Commons, the team that developed the Commons site wanted to further refine the front-end interface of the site and needed to make the case for potential funders to support further design work.


We inspected the site based on established human factors principles and conducted insight-based observational research with users. We assessed the user interface of the Balboa Park Commons website following a hybrid of two usability methods: heuristic evaluation and think-aloud user testing. The final deliverable was a detailed report that summarized heuristics-based findings and usability test reports and presented recommendations for site modifications, changes, and improvements. The team is now using the report for fundraising efforts.

Project Team

Dana Mitroff Silvers