New library website needs your feedback

UW Library rolled out the new web­site design over the sum­mer. We would like to hear feed­back from you! Can you find the infor­ma­tion you are look­ing for? Do you like the new  design? Can you find the resource for your research topic ?

We would love to have you come in talk to us as well, and we will give out $10 gra­tu­ity to eli­gi­ble participants.\


Start by fill­ing out  this quick sur­vey!



The New UW Libraries Search

It’s here! While we in the User Expe­ri­ence group have been focus­ing on the web­site redesign, the rest of the Libraries staff have been hard at work on the migra­tion to our new library sys­tem. Last week, the Libraries rolled out the new UW Libraries Search, which replaces the UW World­Cat search box and the UW-only catalog.

The UW is work­ing jointly with 36 other libraries in the Orbis Cas­cade Alliance to cre­ate one library search sys­tem, with the goal to improve the research expe­ri­ence for our stu­dents and fac­ulty and bet­ter man­age all of our resources. We are one of 6 libraries to migrate in this first wave, over the next year the rest of the libraries in the Alliance will make the jump too.

As with any tran­si­tion to a new sys­tem, there will be some hic­cups along the way–see our known issues page if you’re encoun­ter­ing any unex­pected behav­ior in the new Search. We are com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing excel­lent ser­vice through­out this tran­si­tion, so please do Ask Us! if you encounter any other issues, have ques­tions or comments.

Help us out with our mobile library website

Help us improve the UW Libraries web­site! A $10 book­store gift­card will be given to eli­gi­ble participants

Sign up Here!
We are cur­rently con­duct­ing a study to eval­u­ate a new mobile design of the UW Libraries web­site. We want to find out what works best for peo­ple who use it — peo­ple like you — so we can improve the design and func­tion­al­ity of the site.

We are sched­ul­ing ses­sions and we expect they will take about 1 hour. Let us know the best dates and times for you. Time slots are first come first served, so respond quickly.

Sign up Here

The ‘Mobile-First’ Generation

The Pew Research Cen­ter released a new study into smart­phone adop­tion among Amer­i­can teens.

Here are some of the highlights–

The Pew Research Cen­ter sur­vey that explored tech­nol­ogy use among 802 youth ages 12–17 and their par­ents. Key find­ings include:

  • 78% of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half (47%) of them own smart­phones. That trans­lates into 37% of all teens who have smart­phones, up from just 23% in 2011.
  • 23% of teens have a tablet com­puter, a level com­pa­ra­ble to the gen­eral adult population.
  • 95% of teens use the internet.
  • 93% of teens have a com­puter or have access to one at home. Seven in ten (71%) teens with home com­puter access say the lap­top or desk­top they use most often is one they share with other fam­ily members.

…Some­thing to think about as we move to a “mobile first” approach for our library web­site. This gen­er­a­tion will be head­ing to col­lege and using library resource very dif­fer­ently from what we are cur­rently seeing.

Mobile Usability Testing

As we wrap up our card­sort exer­cise (if you haven’t done it, please par­tic­i­pate!), we’re look­ing into build­ing our mobile site.

UX Mag­a­zine recently pub­lished “Eight Lessons in Mobile Usabil­ity Test­ing” which wraps up many of the great points to test on mobile devices.


Some high­lights from the article:

1. Test­ing on paper pro­to­type: have two slits through which a paper pro­to­type can be inserted. This sim­u­lates what users would see on one screen

2. Mobile Test­ing Sleds: very helpful!

3. Con­text: not always impor­tant– sta­tis­tics showed that the high­est use of mobile devices is actu­ally early in the morn­ing and after 8pm at night, pre­sum­ably when most peo­ple are home.

4. Employ­ing users’ own tech­nol­ogy will dis­cover more issues

5. There are ways to sim­u­late users’ con­texts and environments

Read the full arti­cle here!

Help us to define our information architecture!

We are cur­rently work­ing on our infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture for our web­site. Our web­site has A LOT of infor­ma­tion, and we want to make sure our users under­stand where to go for cer­tain infor­ma­tion. We can’t have every­thing listed on one page…so we’ll have to struc­ture every­thing and make things easy for every­one to find!

How do we fig­ure out what makes sense to peo­ple? Card sort!

A card sort is a quick and easy way to find out how peo­ple think your con­tent should be organ­ised. It’s a use­ful approach for design­ing infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture, work­flows, menu struc­ture or web­site nav­i­ga­tion paths. (OptimalSort)

We ask patrons to puts the cur­rent links and labels we have on our UW Libraries site into log­i­cal group­ings, and finds a cat­e­gory name for each grouping.We’ve done some in-person card sort­ing with our patrons:

You can do this online with us now! And we need your input! Please help us to bet­ter define our infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture and make the UW Libraries web­site more user-friendly for you!

Start your card sort here:



Like many other orga­ni­za­tions, the UW Libraries use per­sonas to make var­i­ous deci­sions. What is a persona?

A per­sona rep­re­sents a clus­ter of users who exhibit sim­i­lar behav­ioral pat­terns in their pur­chas­ing deci­sions, use of tech­nol­ogy or prod­ucts, cus­tomer ser­vice pref­er­ences, lifestyle choices, and the like. Behav­iors, atti­tudes, and moti­va­tions are com­mon to a “type” regard­less of age, gen­der, edu­ca­tion, and other typ­i­cal demo­graph­ics. In fact, per­sonas vastly span demo­graph­ics. Read about it more here.

Our per­sonas were devel­oped back in 2009. We have been updat­ing them to accom­mo­date changes in tech­nol­ogy, library ser­vices, and other prod­ucts that would influ­ence patrons’ library use.

We research through schol­arly arti­cles and inter­viewed patrons to gain a bet­ter under­stand­ing of how the library is being used these days. Per­sonas are espe­cially handy for our cur­rent project– redesign­ing our home­page– since we need to pri­or­i­tize a lot of infor­ma­tion and content.

Here’s an exam­ple of our persona:

Library on your mobile device

Have you ever been on the UW Libraries web­site through your smart­phone or tablets? What do you usu­ally do when you’re on through through those mobile devices?

We found through many sur­veys that the most com­mon item peo­ple look up on library web­sites through mobile devices are.….(take a guess)

Library Hours!

Yup, you prob­a­bly have done it too. Look up library hours and loca­tion infor­ma­tion on your mobile devices.
Here are some other things peo­ple often find/do on library web­sites through mobile devices:

  • Reserve Study Spaces
  • Search the catalog

Share with us your expe­ri­ence using the library web­site through your mobile devices!

A mobile-friendly Library.

We want our new library home­page to be mobile-friendly so we decided to have a respon­sive site! What does that mean? Respon­sive web design sites are designed with the goal that sites are crafted in order to pro­vide an opti­mal view­ing experience.

So you’ll be able to EASILY nav­i­gate, read and use the UW libraries site with your smart­phones, your tablets, and your laptops/PCs


And we’ve been look­ing at many exam­ples some aca­d­e­mic libraries sites def­i­nitely caught our eye.. check out the Uni­ver­sity of Vir­gina Library’s web­site:

and as you min­i­mize the win­dow, you see the changes…Notice how the menu col­lapses. This way you get to eas­ily nav­i­gate on  your tiny smart­phone screen. You still get to search the books you’re look­ing for, look up library hours and uti­lize the ser­vices you want from the library!

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