LibTechConf 2014: Connecting the Clicks

Presneted by Ben Durrant

Our Patrons are Confused!

We have different interfaces, terminology, search strategies, ways to access, etc.

Trying to navigate the library services are like trying to navigate a confusing intersection.

What are our Users doing?

web analytics = “Tag that pretty page”

  • e.g. Google Analytics
  • real time tracking is interesting
  • make sure to use event tracking e.g. tabs, autocomplete, slideshow, social media, internal link, external link
  • important to have
  • code example using jQuery

track service point interactions

  • e.g. Question Tracker
  • question, who it was, etc.
  • instruction stats reporting

user testing

Problems We Found

  • need to cut down
  • simply
  • people don’t read
  • added some more help bits
  • biggest we saw: searching in the wrong place with the wrong stuff


  • simplified top navigation, focus on type
  • narrowed down to two things with subnavigation
  • changed carousel content based on time of day, part of the semester
  • focus on chat, add widget on just about everything
  • popular database list, done on the fly

Design Process

  • apply your template everywhere, as best as you can
  • make sure people have a way to get help
  • autocomplete everywhere e.g. pull XML feed -> JSON -> start typing, comparing
  • journal titles – 1/3 of search doesn’t come up with anything (used to use worldcat, then use ulritch)
  • call number search
  • host own JS/CSS code whenever you can
  • added search within journal next to journal title
  • jQuery plugin “Joyride”, if no results, show popup asking if want to search somewhere else
  • link resolver: do a search and ask meant article? if article button doesn’t work, ask them to search journal, if didn’t get it, use ILL; if not available electronically, tell user have to go in person
  • close box using ‘x’, sets cookie doesn’t show for a week
  • libguides: people only went to 1 or 2 pages, moved tags to bottom, + button to get to related guides, make a lot of the standard boxes with autocomplete, pull in staff info
  • catalogue: location = made human readable, rewrite the link in order to map
  • campus search results: key matches (but looks like an ad), instead use XML feed of database lists
  • request process: ask “are you sure this isn’t available online?”, vastly reduced the number of requests for things already have


  • look at usage patterns
  • make changes that make sense in context of system
  • try to guide user rather than showing everything option and link on a given page
  • make small changes, add analytics code to measure
  • copy other example

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

Leave a Comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: