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Library Desktop Usage UX Study

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8am - 10pm

All service hours

In February 2015, the UX team investigated how the library’s public desktop computers were used. 

Research Questions

  • What are the desktop computers used for? 
  • What are library users’ personal devices used for? 
  • When are the desktop computers used, and on which floor?


  • Over 10 days, a total of 669 computers were observed on the first and second floor of the library.
  • 30 interviews were conducted with desktop computer users.
  • 27 users filled out surveys about laptop and mobile device use on campus.

What did we Learn?

  • Students used the desktop computers for a variety of reasons including printing, using a specific software, convenience and speed.
  • Desktop users were primarily writing a document, on Courselink, or researching.
  • The first floor computers were the busiest.
  • Location and accessibility of the desktops were very important to users, and any changes affecting these, like requiring a login before usage, would be major barriers for users.

Our Recommendations

  • Investigate wireless printing to make this process easier for those using the desktops solely for printing.
  • Consider purchasing laptop power cords for users to borrow.
  • More outlets are required in high-use locations.
  • The questionable hygiene of the desktops was a barrier for some users. Regular cleaning of the desktops should be considered.


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