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Table of Contents: 2021 JULY–AUGUST No. 441

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PubMed Update: Clinical Queries Usability Study and Interface Updates

Chan J. PubMed Update: Clinical Queries Usability Study and Interface Updates. NLM Tech Bull. 2021 Jul-Aug;(441):e3.

2021 July 20 [posted]

The PubMed Clinical Queries interface has been updated following a usability study to support user-friendly, efficient searching on clinical and disease-related topics. Clinical Queries currently includes filters for Clinical Studies and COVID-19 articles; the search strategies for these filters did not change in this update.

Clinical Queries Usability Study

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) recently conducted a usability study of the PubMed Clinical Queries interface to:

  • Explore user goals for conducting searches with Clinical Queries
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of the original interface
  • Recommend improvements to help users search more confidently and efficiently when using PubMed Clinical Queries
  • Create a flexible page design that can adapt to and support emerging needs in the future, such as the addition of COVID-19 filters in fall 2020 (see PubMed Clinical Queries Update Coming Soon)

The usability study gathered input from librarians, clinicians, researchers, and other PubMed users through video interviews, hands-on testing, survey responses, and web analytics. Many thanks to the participants for sharing their time, feedback, and expertise to help improve PubMed!

Searching with PubMed Clinical Queries

Based on user feedback, the Clinical Queries interface (see Figure 1) has been streamlined to focus on one search category at a time, facilitate quick access to the full results in PubMed, and make supporting information about the filters and results more readily accessible. Please note, the Clinical Queries filters have not changed in this update; these filter search strategies are documented in the PubMed User Guide.

Screenshot of PubMed Clinical Queries interface.
Figure 1: The PubMed Clinical Queries interface has been updated to support user-friendly, efficient searching.

To search using Clinical Queries:

  1. Enter your search terms in the search bar.
  2. Adjust the Filter category and selected Filter(s) as needed.
  3. Changing filter settings will automatically search with the new filter applied, or you can use the Search button to manually run your search.
  4. Preview the first five results for your search on the Clinical Queries page.
  5. To view all results, click the link to "See all results in PubMed."

NLM is continuing to enhance the PubMed user experience based on usability testing, analytics, and feedback from users. Please write to the Help Desk with your comments and suggestions.

By Jessica Chan
National Center for Biotechnology Information

NLM Technical Bulletin National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health