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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