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Guelph Public Library Website UX Study

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In September 2017, the UX Team explored user perception of the newly redesigned Guelph Public Library (GPL) website.

Research Questions

  • How do users experience the newly designed GPL website?
  • What issues are there with the new website?


  • We conducted in-person interviews and usability tests with 25 participants (8 Older Adults and 17 Adults) at 5 different GPL branches.

What did we Learn?

  • Users found the new design aesthetically pleasing but more difficult to navigate
  • Users were confused by library jargon
  • Most participants navigated the website by reading through the persistent navigation menu and missed important buttons below the fold
  • Users could not find the search bar, and found search menu options confusing
  • The events calendar was difficult to use

Our Recommendations

  • Ensure important information is displayed above the fold
  • Improve colour contrast between text and background
  • Avoid using library jargon like ‘eLibrary’ and ‘eResources’
  • Improve structure of the persistent navigation menu by making mutually exclusive and exhaustive categories
  • Explain the difference between ‘catalogue,’ ‘resources’, and ‘website’ on the search drop-down menu
  • Include the word ‘Search’, or a search bar, on the homepage. Not all users associate a magnifying glass symbol with the option to search
  • For the events calendar, include a complete list of program titles, place the legend in a more visible location, and include the option to filter events by type

Year of Study


The library is committed to ensuring that members of our user community with disabilities have equal access to our services and resources and that their dignity and independence is always respected. If you encounter a barrier and/or need an alternate format, please fill out our Library Print and Multimedia Alternate-Format Request Form. Contact us if you’d like to provide feedback: lib.a11y@uoguelph.ca