While our building is closed, we can support you online. Learn about library services during COVID-19.

Library Desktop Usage UX Study

In February 2015, the UX team investigated how the library’s public desktop computers were used. 

Research Questions

  • What are the desktop computers used for? 
  • What are library users’ personal devices used for? 
  • When are the desktop computers used, and on which floor?


  • Over 10 days, a total of 669 computers were observed on the first and second floor of the library.
  • 30 interviews were conducted with desktop computer users.
  • 27 users filled out surveys about laptop and mobile device use on campus.

What did we Learn?

  • Students used the desktop computers for a variety of reasons including printing, using a specific software, convenience and speed.
  • Desktop users were primarily writing a document, on Courselink, or researching.
  • The first floor computers were the busiest.
  • Location and accessibility of the desktops were very important to users, and any changes affecting these, like requiring a login before usage, would be major barriers for users.

Our Recommendations

  • Investigate wireless printing to make this process easier for those using the desktops solely for printing.
  • Consider purchasing laptop power cords for users to borrow.
  • More outlets are required in high-use locations.
  • The questionable hygiene of the desktops was a barrier for some users. Regular cleaning of the desktops should be considered.


Year of Study: