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What Public Library Users Want and How to

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What Public Library Users Want and How to

  1. 1. Nina McHale Arapahoe Library District LITA Forum 2012Slides available: slideshare.net/ninermac
  2. 2. • Bad past experiences with web launches• Poor communication/no chance for input• Changes made reactively to complaints• Development decisions and processes not data- driven• Design/build choices were not user-centric* *Staff are users, too!
  3. 3. • The Status Quo• The January Survey• The Five Things• The Design/Build Process• The Paper Prototyping• The Present
  4. 4. • arapahoelibraries.org• Heavily modified Drupal 6 site that staff hated• Uses the Drupal Millennium module to import MARC records from our III catalog to create a second, e-commerce-like “web” catalog• Unstable server environment• Some ideas for patron improvements: – Make search more prominent – Feature social media presences more
  5. 5. • Adapted from a study conducted by fellow LITAn Christopher Evjy, Web Manager at Jefferson County (Colorado) Libraries• Included two versions: – 10 questions for patrons – 7 questions for staff• Not focused on the specifics of the current iteration of the site, but more what users do— and want to do—with it.
  6. 6. 1. How often do you visit the District’s web site?2. Where are you when you use the web site?3. How often do you use your phone or mobile device to access the site?4. I most often use the library web site to:5. I also use the web site to:6. What do you have trouble finding on the web site?
  7. 7. 7. What’s one thing you would love to see on our web site that we don’t have?8. Are there any emerging trends in our community or beyond that the Library web site should try to support?9. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about our web site?10. How old are you?
  8. 8. 1. For our patrons, what’s the most useful thing on the web site?2. What’s the most useful thing YOU use?3. What are the top problems patrons have on the site?4. What are the top problems YOU have?5. How could the site support your work better?
  9. 9. 6. If you could change one thing about arapahoelibraries.org, what would it be?7. What is going on at ALD or in the communities we serve that is under our radar— interesting or valuable—that the library should try to support?
  10. 10. • 354 patron results; 59(~/315) staff results• Print responses in English keyed into Survey Monkey;• Spanish and Russian responses translated and entered;• Categorized open-ended results: “account,” “search,” etc.• Distilled categorized results via a group discussion into five priorities for a new site
  11. 11. • How often do you visit the District’s web site?
  12. 12. • Where are you when you use the web site?
  13. 13. • How often do you use your phone/mobile device to visit arapahoelibraries.org?
  14. 14. • How old are you?
  15. 15. • 55% use the web site to perform account- related activity• 41% use the site to search for items• 8% use the site to access downloadable items• 6% use the site for readers advisory• 4% use the site for research• 2% use the site to find information about programming and events
  16. 16. • 32% use the web site to perform account- related activity• 26% use the site to search for items• 12% use the site for readers advisory• 11% use the site to find information about programming and events• 11% use the site for research• 8% use the site to access downloadable items
  17. 17. • What’s the most important thing for our patrons? – 28% account features – 18% catalog/classic catalog – 18% ebooks/downloadables – 13% search – 5% information – 3% programming and events
  18. 18. • What’s the most important thing YOU use? – 40% catalog/classic catalog – 35% ebooks/downloadables – 11% databases – 10% readers’ advisory – 8% information – 6% programming
  19. 19. • What problems do patrons have? – 27% catalog/classic catalog – 23% ebooks/downloadables• What problems do YOU have? – 28% catalog/classic catalog – 22% ebooks/downloadables – 18% search – 15% site speed/performance – 8% cart/book bag
  20. 20. • How could the site support your work better? – 18% “ok as is” – 14% improved search – 12% improved speed/performance – 12% visibility of X• If you could change one thing… – 13% ebooks/downloadables – 11% catalog/classic catalog – 11% visibility of X – 9% “nothing,” “no suggestions”
  21. 21. • Rebuild the web site as a portal to the catalog, not web site-based discovery layer;• Improve the III account experience;• Improve search function;• Keep exploring and expanding readers’ advisory opportunities;• Reconsider content refresh intervals of content for web team workflow.
  22. 22. • Staff considerations: location information is NOT included in the current web site• Catalog screens need updating (twice!) prior to Sierra, and this may well break the current site.• Isn’t this a step backwards?! – Don’t be discouraged from trying this approach if you have the resources! – Possibility of III’s Encore in 2013
  23. 23. • Part of the rationale for creating the Drupal-based “web catalog” (with a “cart”) was what felt to be a poor user account experience in the III OPAC;• As in the first “thing” above, the high frequency of responses in which users indicated account activity—renew books, view checkouts, etc.— made optimizing the III account functions, to include adding a link (or other integration, as much as possible) to user Overdrive accounts a priority.
  24. 24. • On legacy site, the search box is in the upper right and very small• After “account”-related responses, “search”-related responses were the most common from patrons (44%).• This also corroborates anecdotal evidence about making the search box more prominent and centralized.• Using embedded <form> code from the III system, an improved search that does not use screen scraping to present results, can be achieved.
  25. 25. • Inspiration for an improved search came from the Columbus Metropolitan Library: www.columbuslibrary.org
  26. 26. • “Readers’ advisory” was categorized in the survey results as any mention by patrons of “browsing” or use of the word “new.”• It came in fourth, after “account,” “search,” and “downloadables.”• Two Drupal module options: – Millennium: to pull/feature items from III – Goodreads: to pull/feature ALD librarian reviews
  27. 27. • Any site improvements should consider streamlining and simplifying workflow for those who spend most of their work hours on it• The first question—how often do you visit the library’s web site?—suggests that Web Team members could perhaps update content less frequently (as just over half of users indicated that they accessed the site one per week).
  28. 28. • Responsive build using an Omega subtheme, (complements existing Boopsie app)• Key modules: – Millennium: sto import MARC records as nodes, just not THE ENTIRE catalog – Evanced Importer: pulls events in as nodes – Dynamic Display Block: for home page slides – ShareThis: for social media integration
  29. 29. http://designmodo.com/responsive-design-examples/
  30. 30. • Working with our graphic designer in communications, we developed a paper prototype for usability testing;• In spite of layout similarities, a marked change in site architecture was occurring;• The design was to be “an evolution, not a revolution,” with a very similar overall structure/layout.
  31. 31. • How would you renew your library materials?• How would you search for and reserve the movie The Lorax?• How would you find what to read next?• What would you expect to see if you clicked the Books button (and Movies, Music, Downloads)• What would you expect to see if you clicked on a slide?• How often do you visit our website?• What do you have trouble finding or doing on our website?
  32. 32. • People expected the Books/Movies/Music/Downloads bar to act as a search filter because of its proximity to the search;• People read the slideshow of library programming and events as ad space because it has no context within the rest of the page/design;• Only one person saw the user account log in box; everyone else went to the link in the upper right.
  33. 33. • Since patrons expected tabs to filter by search type, they will!• Barnes & Nobles’ site search:• Main site navigation UNDER search box• Adding dropdowns to search for quicker access to branch, class, research/database info
  34. 34. • Add calls to action to programming/events slides;• Use a section header with a catchy label to anchor it within the rest of the design;• Set a specific template to the slide area content to categorize what type of “thing” it was (author event, featured resource, program)
  35. 35. • Patrons expected the log in to be in the upper right, and it was—kinda…a link, anyway• Moving/embedding the form elements for the III patroninfo (log in) page: – Matched their expectations – AND satisfied Thing 2 (improve account experience)
  36. 36. • Getting help: – In one usability session, a person answered the question, “Well, I guess I’d call the library”—but then couldn’t find any contact info.  – The account info box was replaced with a feature for the “Answer Squad.” – Features phone, text, tweet methods to get in touch with a person.
  37. 37. • Reconsidering featured books for the home page carousel: – Consultant: “It looks like these were machine- selected.” – We needed to develop a rationale as to WHY those items were featured; – Internet (content) librarians spend a lot of time and effort on featuring this content (loading cover images); – The only thing that patrons can do is put themselves on a waitlist.
  38. 38. • Launch date: November 4th• Communications plan: – Advertising changes in advance – Language for responding to negative criticism, external AND internal – Sharing our research methods and results• Post launch usability: – In-person testing in branches – Tracking kudos and criticisms
  39. 39. Nina McHaleninermac.net @ninermac

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