Instructional Design Resources

Librarians sharing cool stuff

Session C104 – Inspiration for your Library Redesign October 29, 2007

Filed under: design inspiration,IL2007,web design — jennym @ 4:14 pm

Bennett Ponsford and Christina Hoffman Gola, Texas A&M University


Questions to ask users

  • What type of items are users searching for?
  • How do they discover new resources?
  • What to do with subject and class guides?
    • Audience and function questions
    • format, location and terminology
  • What web 2.0 features are desired?

Methodology: Recruitment

  • Traditional
    • blanket campus emails
    • advertising in student newspapers
  • New Tools
    • FB group
    • blog
    • discussion forum

Results: First Survey

  • People aren’t really looking for pages on the website, they were looking for
  • Searching differences between different user groups
  • Need for information about the library — undergrads needed more how-to
  • Interaction with the Libraries’ website
  • Web 2.0 Issues
    • Limited interest in tagging
    • Limited faculty interest in user-generated content (undergraduates were
      more interested, but still not overwhelmingly so)
    • Traditional preferences for communicating with the Libraries

Results: Second Survey

  • Confirmed earlier results on use of the site
  • Default search
    • Want books or everything, but last searched for articles
  • What to keep on home page?
    • Emphasis on simplifying the homepage, but had no consensus on what that

Results: Bulletin Board

  • Intense hatred of our pop-up windows
  • Frustration
    • Want to search, click on full-text
    • not interested in all the options we give them*** (this is using SFX and
  • Confusion
    • Often can’t even describe where they got lost

Results: Focus Groups

  • Undergraduates didn’t know about Google Scholar, but it was the first place
    that faculty went
  • Integrate systems (catalogs, edocs, etc)
    • users wanted to log in once and have it personalized and not have to log
      in again
  • Discovery of databases
    • not using Libraries’ website to discover – are mostly learning through
      word of mouth
  • Subject and class guides
    • Audience was different than previously assumed
    • Interdisciplinary issue on campus
    • Not discovering them b/c they weren’t in good locations or listed in good
  • Need more ways to allow self-discovery and shared knowledge ****
  • Visual and “sexy” is good (participants encouraged them to “sell the

    • no one even realized they had lots of RSS feeds
  • Use of Web 2.0 tools
    • Undergrads mentioned wikis
    • Use of RSS — glass half full or half empty?
      • About 50/50 are aware of RSS and its use in libraries
      • Where does user education come in (*this is a great opportunity for
    • Personalization features
      • She also mentioned personalization of librarians, as in creating
        Facebook-like profiles for librarians on the Libraries’ website

Web 2.0 in Academic Libraries

  • How far should we go?
  • Academic standard vs. Web 2.0
  • How much education to we provide?
    • i.e. do we want to support use of blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, etc. with


  • Help them find our stuff and then get out of the way
  • Reaffirmed traditional design rules
    • Let the user control the interface
    • integrate systems
  • Determine user groups’ needs BEFORE trying to use 2.0 tools

Next Steps

  • Focus groups, interviews, etc


Erica Reynolds, Johnson County Public Library

Web design is a fairly new, fairly “young” world, but art is ancient — we can
learn from and be inspired by art

Lessons about web design learned at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Lesson 1: Have a back-up plan.

  • When redesign rolled out, they still gave staff access to old site
  • Went from 5,000+ pages to 250

Lesson 2: Be bold. Be dynamic. Be human.

  • Teen Scene – users can personalize and select their own skins

Lesson 3: When you paint to sell, you paint people.

Lesson 4: Enliven your collection through reorganization and presentation.

  • Break apart your content and see how you can put it back together again
  • Redistribute content to enliven collection
    • Change interface for purchased content based on what patrons want

Lesson 5: Technology changes everything.

Lesson 6: Experiment with small studies and prototypes.

  • Usability studies
  • You have to back up large changes with small studies
  • Card sort
  • Paper prototyping and more paper prototyping

Lesson 7: A desire for beauty and serenity endures.

Lesson 8: We like surprises. And anticipating the surprise is even more delicious.

  • Created a button that says “Surprise!” and people liked to click on it.

Lesson 9: A good guide enhances the experience exponentially.

Lesson 10: Destruction and creation and forever linked.

Lesson 11: Never stop innovating.

Lesson 12: We can be both prestigious and playful.

* Usability stuff is up at


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