Join us on Tuesday, July 24, at Intuit to provide feedback to the RCSB Protein Data Bank experience design
The RCSB Protein Data Bank (RCSB PDB) is a free public resource funded by the NSF, NIH, and DOE, and is managed by Rutgers University and UCSD. The team at Rutgers develops deposition systems and curates the data. The UCSD team develops and hosts the database, web site, and web services.
The Protein Data Bank (PDB) archive is the single worldwide repository of information about the 3D structures of large biological molecules, including proteins and nucleic acids. These are the molecules of life that are found in all organisms including bacteria, yeast, plants, flies, other animals, and humans. Understanding the shape of a molecule helps to understand how it works. This knowledge can be used to help deduce a structure’s role in human health and disease, and in drug development. The structures in the archive range from tiny proteins and bits of DNA to complex molecular machines like the ribosome.
The RCSB PDB web site, http://www.rcsb.org provides query, analysis, download, and visualization tools to mine the PDB. In addition, it contains a section dedicated to education (PDB-101), including more than 150 Molecule of the Month articles that describe important structure in the database.
The RCSB PDB is accessed by a wide variety of user ranging from life science researchers, students, teachers, and to some extend by media and the general public. The user skill level ranges from novice users to computer-savvy user, domain experts, and software developers. The web site is accessed by more than 250,000 unique users per month from about 160 countries, with the large majority coming from the USA, Asia, and Europe.
Objectives for User Experience
We noticed that about 90% of all customers used the simple text search, and only 10% of “power” users tried our advanced search options. We have implemented two strategies to overcome this issue: 1. search suggestions to guide the user to more specific search results, and 2. faceted browsing for iterative query refinement. In addition, we have added new ways of exploring search results, such as a timeline view.