Information Update - Fall 2007

Focus Groups Suggest Changes to Library's Web Site

Data collected from the focus group research conducted by Professor Bonnie Oldham during the fall 2005 semester is being utilized by the Library staff to improve the usability of the Library's web site. The main concerns of students and faculty who participated in the focus groups included knowing what user name and password to use for the library, the layout of the first page of the Library's Web site, and simplified remote access to the Library's databases.
 
There was overall confusion about the many different user names and passwords needed for various University applications, and in particular which user name and password to use for the Library. To help students know what user name and password to use for the Library, changes were made on the authentication page for remote access to the databases and on the My Account authentication page in the Library catalog. Both of these pages now spell out exactly what the username (e.g., smithj2) and password (ddmmyy) of your birth, e.g. September 1, 1988 would be 010988) should be.
 
Users were also frustrated with the fact that they were required to logon separately to different areas of the University's web site. The Library systems staff is working with the University's systems staff to facilitate a single sign on for remote access. Single sign on would provide one authentication for both the Library's databases and Blackboard so that when students log on to either, they would authenticate for both, and would be one way to simplify remote access to the databases.
 
Feedback from the focus group participants highlighted some concerns with the layout of the first page of the Library's Web site. One concern was with the buttons. While the "Search the Catalog" button seemed self-explanatory, students did not know what the other two buttons on the page were for. To clarify what the "PALCI E-ZBorrow" button does, the text that you see when you placeWeinberg Memorial Library your mouse over this button was changed to "Self-service Book Borrowing from another Library." To clarify what the "Ask a Librarian" button does, the text that you see when you place your mouse over this button was changed to "Chat or E-mail Reference."
 
Other concerns expressed were that the font size of the text was too small, that the links were too close together, and that although the overall color scheme is appealing, some text does not stand out because of its color. Some students and faculty also indicated that although the picture of the Library and the text below it looked attractive, it took up too much space on the page.
 
Finally, focus group participants were worried that if the Library's Web site changed, then they would have to learn where everything is all over again. Hopefully the changes that were made have not been so drastic that students and faculty who were familiar with the Library's Web page will have to relearn how to use it.

Bonnie Oldham

Pride, Passion, Promise: Experience Our Jesuit Tradition