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Library Guides UX Study (2015)

In February 2015, the UX team conducted research to understand student awareness and use of Library Guides.

Research Questions

  • How could Library Guides (LibGuides) be improved?  
  • How do students use LibGuides?


  • Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 7 undergraduate students.
  • Usability testing

What did we Learn?

  • Few students were aware of LibGuides and found the term ‘Library Guide’ to be confusing and vague.
  • Once aware of the LibGuides, most students accessed them on the library website by selecting the Get Assistance menu item.
  • Students were likely to select a recommended link in a LibGuide if it was familiar and one of the top 3 listed links.
  • Students were unlikely to access virtual help while using a LibGuide page.
  • Students found getting to the LibGuides challenging.

Our Recommendations

  • Improve visibility. Create a link on the library’s homepage with a short description of what a Library Guide is. Include more information about Library Guides on existing links on the library website.
  • Explore opportunities to promote Library Guides from websites external to the library.
    This could attract users that don’t frequent the library’s website.
  • Improve search rankings. Library Guides should be the top result and the resultant link should go directly to the university’s LibGuides homepage.
  • Improve help support. Include a chat widget near the Ask Us icon on LibGuides’ pages to make the chat option more recognizable and to combat the issues with the Ask Us icon.
  • Improve design elements. Create or improve the descriptions under each link. Students consult the descriptions when deciding which link is the most appropriate for them.
  • Enhance content scannability. Increase the font of headings to allow the page to be more scannable.
Year of Study: