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Website Re-Design On A Dime: Gathering User Input on a Budget
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Website Re-Design On A Dime: Gathering User Input on a Budget


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In this presentation we discuss how we designed and implemented a plan to gather information from our students on the usability of the Grafton Library website at Mary Baldwin College. We also show …

In this presentation we discuss how we designed and implemented a plan to gather information from our students on the usability of the Grafton Library website at Mary Baldwin College. We also show how we used the information we gathered to design a more user-friendly website.

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No notes for slide
  • Explain organization of presentation: project intro, methods, results, and tips/problems
  • We wanted to match the rest of the school but with input from students. Could not afford usability testing or many incentives for participation
  • Whiteboard and personal notes
  • Examples
  • Increase in blog statistics—especially for student workers
  • Different methods work because its easier to do online survey than focus group
  • Transcript

    • 1. Website Re-design on a Dime: Gathering User Input on a Budget Alison Peppers, Head of Public Services Ilka Datig, Instruction & Electronic Services Librarian Mary Baldwin College
    • 2. Introduction to Project
      • Opportunity to dovetail with college-wide website makeover
      • Management of library website is semi-autonomous
      • Promoted library’s participation in design
      • Importance of student input
      • Could not afford usability testing or many incentives for participation
    • 3. Background Information
      • Mary Baldwin College
        • Four-year women’s liberal arts college in Staunton, VA
        • 826 Undergraduates
        • 1255 Adult Degree Program
        • 197 Graduate students in Literature, Education and Teaching
      • Grafton Library
        • 7 full-time staff
    • 4. Goals
      • Gather input for planned website re-design
        • Learn how students use the website
        • Learn what “library” vocabulary might be alien to them
      • Use what we learned to create a model for a new interface that we could pass on to the graphic design team (while also seeing what we could change on our own)
      • Do it all on a low budget
    • 5. Methods
      • Mission: get in-depth information but also reach a wide number of students
      • Focus groups (4 groups – 12 participants total)
        • Think-aloud protocol
        • Group discussion
        • Website markup activity
      • Online survey (101 respondents)
    • 6. Finding participants
      • All free of cost
        • Campus announcements
        • Library homepage
        • Signs in the library
        • Announcement in course management software
        • MBC TV “commercial”
        • Library blog
    • 7. Focus Groups: Format
      • Met in the library classroom/adjacent room
      • Distributed snacks, consent forms, and demographic information forms
      • Conducted think-alouds with individual students in the classroom
      • Brought all students together in the classroom to conduct discussion & website markup
    • 8. Previous Homepage
    • 9. Focus Groups-Think Aloud
      • Purpose: to watch students complete common tasks while they explained their thought process
      • Noted where they went, how long it took and any other observations
      • Audio-recorded
    • 10.  
    • 11. Focus Groups: Discussion
      • PowerPoint presentation with questions and an image of the current homepage
      • Participants answered questions and discussed
      • Audio-recorded
      • Answers on whiteboard
      • Notes
    • 12. What could be improved on this website?
    • 13. Renaming
      • The following slides describe resources and services offered by Grafton Library.
      • If you could rename them as they appear on the website, what would you call them?
      • A service that allows you to request books and articles that are not available at Grafton Library.
    • 14. Focus Groups: Website Markup
      • Printed out the current homepage
      • Asked students to mark:
        • Likes
        • Dislikes/not necessary
        • Confusing terms
        • Missing
        • Other comments
    • 15. KEY O= keep X= toss ?= don’t understand
    • 16. KEY O= keep X= toss ?= don’t understand
    • 17. Focus Group Highlights
      • Very concerned with appearance of website: colors, photographs, styles
      • Confused by “where some links go”
      • Want more information on the home page: ex. hours
      • Redundant links are confusing
        • “ Too much clutter”
    • 18. Online Survey
      • Separate surveys for
        • Residential College for Women (Undergraduate Students): 54 responses
        • Adult Degree Program: 38 responses
        • Graduate Students: 9 responses
      • Ultimate Survey
        • Free access through college subscription
        • Provides a URL, graphs
    • 19. Online Survey
      • Gathered similar information as focus groups, in addition to:
        • How often they use the website
        • Any problems with using the website
        • Reasons for not using the website
      • Concerns very similar to focus groups participants: confusing link names, appearance, and redundancy
    • 20.  
    • 21.  
    • 22. Different User Populations
      • Differences in RCW vs ADP responses
        • ADP use website less often
        • More RCW students feel ‘successful’ when using the library website
        • Website vs. library resources = confusion for all groups
        • Generally, confused by the same terms
      • “ If unable to make Grafton's site resemble MBC's homepage, at least change the color scheme. BROWN=BORING!!! Adding some color to the site, and just a punch of fun, may increase the usage of the site, or make it less "serious" looking and more user friendly. It basically reminded me of wood panelling in a basement or something, and everyone knows that wood panelling is very 80s.” (RCW)
      • The pictures look a little outdated don't they? Would like to see updated pictures with vibrant backgrounds and borders. Announcements for upcoming events would be useful as well :) (RCW)
      • The color scheme, it's a little old fashioned and dated. I really like MBC's new homepage theme and layout; it would be cool to have the library's site a little more like the college's homepage. (RCW)
      • I’m amazed at what is available to us throughout the on-line library. I am honestly feeling a little guilty for not taking advantage of both the online and physical site! (ADP)
      • Thank you for considering students when setting up or changing your format. :) (ADP)
    • 26. Applying what we learned
      • Data:
        • Reports from surveys (plus free text answers)
        • Notes and transcripts from focus groups
        • Website markups
      • Looked for themes and common problems
      • Created a rough ‘map’ and list of suggestions for the college graphic design team
    • 27.  
    • 28.  
    • 29. Pitfalls
      • Student workers as participants
      • Lack of interest—need to be flexible with dates/times
      • Different methods=more participants
      • Be clear on what they are evaluating (website layout and language vs. resources)
      • If working with a design team, be very specific about what you want
    • 30. Tips for Success
      • Keep survey short and limit required free text answers
      • Offer focus groups around dinner time and reward with pizza
      • Advertise where your students are:
      • -Announcement in course management software/student portals
      • -Online newsletters or email communications
      • -Campus announcements
    • 31. Money-saving Methods
      • Free advertising through multiple channels
        • Lack of incentives means more legwork and promotion
      • Library facilities & recording equipment
      • Free survey software (Survey Monkey)
      • Free online MP3 conversion tool (Switch)
      • Free dictation software (Express Scribe)
      • Purchase non-perishable snacks vs ordering pizza
    • 32. Next steps…
      • Perform usability testing on new website to test student response & usability
      • Include questions about new website on a future library satisfaction survey
      • Continue to investigate low/no-cost software and tools
    • 33. Questions?
      • References
      • Cockrell, Barbara J., and Elaine Anderson Jayne. “How Do I Find an Article? Insights from a Web Usability Study.” The Journal of Academic Librarianship 28.3 (2002): 122-132. Print.
      • Crowley, Gwyneth H., et al. “User Perceptions of the Library’s Web Pages: A Focus Group Study at Texas A&M University.” The Journal of Academic Librarianship 28.4 (2002): 205-210. Print.
      • Foster, Nancy Fried, Nora Dimmock, and Alison Bersani. “Participatory Design of Websites with Web Design Workshops.” The Code4Lib Journal 2 (2008): n. pag. Web. 17 Sept. 2008. <‌articles/‌53>.
      • UCSD Libraries. “UCSD Libraries Portal Terminology Test 1.” Usability Testing for UCSD Libraries . University of California San Diego, n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2008. <‌escowles/‌about- sage-archive/‌.../‌terminologytest.doc>.