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Appointment Booking Card Sort With Users UX Study

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In October 2018, the UX Team conducted facilitated card sorts with undergraduate and graduate students to help determine the labelling and groupings of our services.

Research Questions

  • How do users categorize the library’s different appointment-based services?
  • What do users know about library appointments? What can they infer based on how we define our services?


  • We facilitated an open card sort using Optimal Sort with 12 students. Participants were presented with all 27 library appointments and asked to group them into categories and then label those categories. We asked prompting and follow up questions throughout the exercise.
  • Each session was voice and screen recorded and then transcribed for analysis.

What did we Learn?

  • Most participants found this exercise very difficult and were not completely satisfied with their final product
  • Most participants used words like “academic”, “fundamental” or “core” to refer to appointments offered by Writing and Learning Teams. These services were most often grouped together.
  • The names of the more advanced services (targeted at researchers) did not resonate with most of our participants. They weren’t able to discern the nature of the appointment based on its title. Our graduate student participants had a more nuanced understanding of these services, perhaps because they are researchers themselves.
  • A few participants divided the cards by perceived target audience(s), creating categories for students, graduate students and/or instructors/professors.
  • We found our undergraduate participants understood “research” and “data” as it relates to their coursework. So the appointment “Finding Data” meant finding articles from a database.

Our Recommendations

  • Clear and explicit definitions of our services need to be present on our webpage. These definitions need to outline what the user should expect like length of appointment, any preparatory work required, what software will be used, etc.
  • Be careful and thoughtful about word choice. If we use “research” ensure we are clear about what this means
  • Use terms that are relevant to undergrads when labeling appointments that are overwhelmingly used by them

Year of Study


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