LibGuide Design: What Are the Experiences and Guidelines at Other Libraries?

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  • 1. Take 20: LibGuide Design –What Are the Experiences andGuidelines at Other Libraries? Christopher Mitchell Information Sciences Graduate Student
  • 2. About the Research• Six usability studies consulted.• Authors recommend more user testing.• Largest testing group: 14 undergraduate students (U. of Michigan).• Morae usability testing software.• Web analytics.
  • 3. Common Goals for LibGuides• Easy-to-find information• Consistent design• No jargon• Annotations• Personalized assistance• Strong marketing
  • 4. Layout & Color• Consistency leads to familiarity.• School or library colors are common.• Create a “sense of place.”• Humanize it. Image credit: University of Arkansas Libraries
  • 5. Navigation• Navigation: Keep it clean and simple.• Issues with the search box.• Tabs caused confusion.• Students preferred a short list of “recommended resources” near the top of the guide.• Format-specific resources (such as image and news databases) were better located when they appeared within a subject guide.
  • 6. Clutter & Information Overload• Highest priority for students: Clean and easy-to-use designs.• Fewer tabs.• Fewer resources.• The LibGuide is a starting point for student research.
  • 7. Clutter & Information Overload• “Can we find a balance between brevity and maintaining enough breadth and depth to ensure that the guide is useful for all?”• Suggestion: Place the top three databases on the subject guide so they are seen immediately.
  • 8. Labeling Issues• “Show me what I need”• Be specific• Should we label the menu item “Find Articles,” “Databases,” or “Journals”?• Shorter menu item names• Avoid acronyms when possible
  • 9. Finding Help• Annotate and guide• Users consult a variety of resources for help• Online tutorials and librarian chat
  • 10. Course-Specific Guides• Course-specific and assignment-specific guides were accessed much more than general subject guides.• As faculty began to see the benefit of guides tailored to their students’ immediate, specific needs, they simultaneously began to request guides for their other classes.• Fewer reference desk questions.
  • 11. Marketing• Promote within colleges, schools, and departments.• If more students are aware of such guides, they will use them.• Students use the resources to which they are directed.
  • 12. Bibliography• Adebonojo, Leslie G. "LibGuides: Customizing Subject Guides for Individual Courses." College & Undergraduate Libraries 17, no. 4 (October 2010): 398-412. Library Literature & Information Science Full Text (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost (accessed February 3, 2012).• Brandon, Jenny, Kelly Sattler, and Christine Tobias. "LibGuides Interface Customization." Online (Weston, Conn.) 35, no. 1 (January 2011): 14-18. Library Literature & Information Science Full Text (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost (accessed February 3, 2012).• Desai, Shevon. 2009. “LibGuides: Undergraduate Focus Groups.” Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Libraries. Report.pdf (accessed February 13, 2012).
  • 13. Bibliography• Gonzalez, Alisa C., and Theresa Westbrock. 2010. "Reaching Out with LibGuides: Establishing a Working Set of Best Practices." Journal of Library Administration 50, no. 5/6: 638-656. Library Literature & Information Science Full Text (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost (accessed February 9, 2012).• Hungerford, Rachel, Lauren Ray, Christine Tawatao, and Jennifer Ward. 2010. “LibGuides Usability Testing.” Seattle: University of Washington Libraries. (accessed February 9, 2012).• Ouellelte, Dana, "Subject Guides in Academic Libraries: A User-Centred Study of Uses and Perceptions." Canadian Journal of Information & Library Sciences 35, no. 4 (December 2011): 436-451. Library Literature & Information Science Full Text (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost (accessed February 3, 2012).