Monday, June 27, 2011

New library home page under development

The library's WorldCat Local online catalog is not the only new library development in the works this summer. We are working on redesigning the home page. It has been a good functional web page for many years, allowing for incremental changes over time. But the enormous amount of information that we want to put at your finger tips no longer fits on one screen. It's a tricky thing to design a page that has more information but takes up less space.
Photo from

Therefore, we are conducting a series of usability studies to help guide us as we work.

In Part A, we asked what we should consider essential elements to carry over from our current home page to the new one. Twenty-one people responded to the survey--sixteen undergraduate students (twelve online and four on campus) and five faculty members--in which we asked for them to check all of the current links that they thought should be on the new page. Then we asked what links they actually used and how often.

Here's what we learned:
The top categories identified to be essential for the library’s home page were:

1. Research Databases
2. Search for books and more
3. TIED: Email a librarian & Library Technical Help
4. TIED: Journals by Title, Library Information (hours, etc.), HopeOnline Students Start Here

The links used (in order of frequency) were:

1. Research Databases
2. Search for books and more
3. Library Information (hours, etc.)
4. Other resources (LibGuides, Chapel Recordings, etc.)
5. Email a librarian and Library Technical Help

This says to us that the most important links to keep are Research Databases and Searching for books and more in the online catalog. (Both of these are covered with the new WorldCat federated discovery tool.) Then, library information and other resources are important, but having the link to a live person is absolutely necessary.

Part B of the survey has already begun with a peek at the testing version of the home page. If you are interested in helping us improve our online library services, please take a few minutes to give us your impressions. You will get a discount coupon for Better World Books and you may win a Starbucks gift card!

Survey ends on July 10, 2011.

Thank you for your help!

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