“Am I on the library website?”
A LibGuides Usability Study
In spring 2015, the Cal Poly Pomona University Library conducted usability testing with ten student testers to establish recommendations and guide the migration process from LibGuides version 1 to version 2. This case study describes the results of the testing as well as raises additional questions regarding the general effectiveness of LibGuides, especially when students rely heavily on search to find library resources.
William Hemmig, “Online Pathfinders: Toward an Experience-Centered Model,” Reference Services Review 33, no. 1 (February 2005): 66-87, https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00907320510581397.
Charles H. Stevens, Marie P. Canfield, and Jeffrey T. Gardner, “Library Pathfinders: A New Possibility for Cooperative Reference Service,” College & Research Libraries 34, no. 1 (January 1973): 40-46.
“About Springshare,” Springshare , Accessed May 7, 2017, https://springshare.com/about.html.
“LibGuides Community,” Accessed December 4, 2018, https://community.libguides.com/?action=0.
Alisa C. Gonzalez and Theresa Westbrock, “Reaching Out with LibGuides:
Establishing a Working Set of Best Practices,” Journal of Library Administration 50, no. 5/6 (September 7, 2010): 638–56, https://doi.org/10.1080/01930826.2010.488941.
Suzanna Conrad and Nathasha Alvarez, “Conversations with Web Site Users: Using Focus Groups to Open Discussion and Improve User Experience,” The Journal of Web Librarianship 10, no. 2 (2016): 53-82,
Suzanna Conrad and Julie Shen, “Designing a User-Centric Web Site for Handheld Devices:
Incorporating Data-Driven Decision-Making Techniques with Surveys and Usability Testing,” The Journal of Web Librarianship 8, no. 4 (2014): 349-383,
“About Springshare,” Springshare , Accessed May 7, 2017. https://springshare.com/about.html.
Jimmy Ghaphery and Erin White, “Library Use of Web-based Research Guides,” Information
Technology and Libraries 31, no. 1 (2012): 21-31,
Katie E. Anderson and Gene R. Springs, “Assessing Librarian Expectations Before and After
LibGuides Implementation,” Practical Academic Librarianship: The International Journal of the SLA Academic Division 6, no. 1 (2016): 19-38, https://journals.tdl.org/pal/index.php/pal/article/view/19.
Troy A. Swanson and Jeremy Green, “Why We Are Not Google: Lessons from a
Library Web Site Usability Study,” The Journal of Academic Librarianship 37, no. 3 (2011): 222-229, http://citeseer.
Judith Z. Emde, Sara E. Morris and Monica Claassen-Wilson, “Testing an Academic
Library Website for Usability with Faculty and Graduate Students,” Evidence Based Library and
Information Practice 4, no. 4 (2009): 24-36,
Heather Jeffcoat King and Catherine M. Jannik, “Redesigning for Usability: Information Architecture and Usability Testing for Georgia Tech Library’s Website,” OCLC Systems & Services 21, no. 3 (2005): 235-243,
Danielle A. Becker and Lauren Yannotta, “Modeling a Library Website Redesign Process: Developing a User-Centered Website through Usability Testing,” Information Technology and Libraries 32, no. 1 (2013): 6-22,
Darren Chase, “The Perfect Storm: Examining User Experience and Conducting a Usability Test to Investigate a Disruptive Academic Library Web Site Redevelopment,” The Journal of Web Librarianship 10, no. 1 (2016): 28-44.
Andrew R. Clark, Annie Erdmann, Jennifer Ferguson, Khalilah Gambrell, and Jeremy B. Shaw-Munderback, “Taking Action on Usability Testing Findings: Simmons College Library Case Study,” The Serials Librarian 71, no. 3-4 (2016): 186-196.
Anthony S. Chow, Michelle Bridges, and Patrician Commander, “The Website Design
and Usability of US Academic and Public Libraries: Findings from a Nationwide Study,” Reference & User Services Quarterly 53, no. 3 (2014): 253-265,
Gricel Dominguez, Sarah J. Hammill, and Ava Iuliano Brillat, “Toward a Usable Academic Library Web Site: A Case Study of Tried and Tested Usability Practices,” The Journal of Web Librarianship 9, no. 2-3 (2015): 99-120.
Junior Tidal, “One Site to Rule Them All: The Second Round of Usability Testing of a Responsively Designed Web Site,” The Journal of Web Librarianship 11, no. 1 (2017): 16-34.
Kate A. Pittsley and Sara Memmott, “Improving Independent Student Navigation of Complex Educational Web Sites: An Analysis of Two Navigation Design Changes in LibGuides,” Information Technology and Libraries 31, no. 3 (2012): 52-64, https://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/ital/article/viewFile/1880/pdf.
Alec Sonsteby and Jennifer DeJonghe, “Usability Testing, User-Centered Design, and LibGuides Subject Guides: A Case Study,” The Journal of Web Librarianship 7, no. 1 (2013): 83-94, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19322909.2013.747366.
Sarah Thorngate and Allison Hoden, “Exploratory Usability Testing of User Interface Options in LibGuides 2,” College & Research Libraries 78, no. 6 (2017): http://crl.acrl.org/content/early/2016/09/27/crl16-951.abstract.
Nora Almeida and Junior Tidal, “Mixed Methods Not Mixed Messages: Improving LibGuides with Student Usability Data,” Evidence Based Library and Information Practice 12, no. 4 (2017): 62-77.
Dana Ouellette, “Subject Guides in Academic Libraries: A User-Centered Study of Uses and
Perceptions,” Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science 35, no. 4 (December 2011): 436–451.
Shannon M. Staley, “Academic Subject Guides: A Case Study of Use at San Jose State University,” College & Research Libraries 68, no. 2 (March 2007): 119–39.
Jakob Nielsen, “Search and You May Find,” Nielsen Norman Group, July 15, 1997,
Jakob Nielsen, “Macintosh: 25 Years,” Nielsen Norman Group, February 2, 2009,
Jakob Nielsen, “Incompetent Research Skills Curb Users’ Problem Solving,” Nielsen Norman Group, April 11, 2011, https://www.nngroup.com/articles/incompetent-search-skills/.
Jakob Nielsen, “Search: Visible and Simple,” Nielsen Norman Group, May 13, 2001,
Jakob Nielsen, “Mental Models for Search Are Getting Firmer,” Nielsen Norman Group, May 9, 2005, https://www.nngroup.com/articles/mental-models-for-search/.
Erik Ojakaar and Jared M. Spool, “Getting Them to What They Want: Eight Best Practices to Get Users to the Content They Want (and to Content They Didn’t Know They Wanted),” UIE Reports: Best Practices Series (Bradford, MA, 2001),
Amanda Nichols Hess and Mariela Hristova, “To Search or to Browse: How Users Navigate a New Interface for Online Library Tutorials,” College & Undergraduate Libraries 23, no. 2 (2016): 168-183.
Xi Niu, Tao Zhang, and Hsin-liang Chen, “Study of User Search Activities with Two Discovery Tools at an Academic Library,” International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction 30 (2014): 422-433.
Iris Xie and Soohyung Joo, “Tales from the Field: Search Strategies Applied in Web Searching,”
Future Internet 2 (2010): 259-281, http://www.mdpi.com/1999-5903/2/3/259.
Brenda Reeb and Susan Gibbons, “Students, Librarians, and Subject Guides: Improving a Poor Rate of Return.” Portal: Libraries and the Academy 4, no. 1 (January 22, 2004): 123-130, https://dx.doi.org/10.1353/pla.2004.0020.
Copyright (c) 2019 Suzanna Conrad and Christy Stevens
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Authors that submit to Information Technology and Libraries agree to the Copyright Notice.