What Public Library Users Want and How to

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  • 1. Nina McHale Arapahoe Library District LITA Forum 2012Slides available: slideshare.net/ninermac
  • 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. The Status Quo The January Survey The Five Things The Design/Build Process The Paper Prototyping The Present
  • 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. 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 dowith it.
  • 6. 1. How often do you visit the Districts 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. Whats one thing you would love to see on our web site that we dont 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 youd like to tell us about our web site?10. How old are you?
  • 8. 1. For our patrons, whats the most useful thing on the web site?2. Whats 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. 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 valuablethat the library should try to support?
  • 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. How often do you visit the Districts web site?
  • 12. Where are you when you use the web site?
  • 13. How often do you use your phone/mobile device to visit arapahoelibraries.org?
  • 14. How old are you?
  • 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. 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. Whats 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. Whats the most important thing YOU use? 40% catalog/classic catalog 35% ebooks/downloadables 11% databases 10% readers advisory 8% information 6% programming
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. Isnt this a step backwards?! Dont be discouraged from trying this approach if you have the resources! Possibility of IIIs Encore in 2013
  • 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 activityrenew 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. 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 code from the III system, an improved search that does not use screen scraping to present results, can be achieved.
  • 25. Inspiration for an improved search came from the Columbus Metropolitan Library: www.columbuslibrary.org
  • 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.