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Library Guides UX Study

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In February 2015, the UX team conducted research to understand student awareness and use of Library Guides.

Research questions

  • How could Library Guides (LibGuides) be improved?  
  • How do students use LibGuides?


  • Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 7 undergraduate students.
  • Usability testing

What did we learn?

  • Few students were aware of LibGuides and found the term ‘Library Guide’ to be confusing and vague.
  • Once aware of the LibGuides, most students accessed them on the library website by selecting the Get Assistance menu item.
  • Students were likely to select a recommended link in a LibGuide if it was familiar and one of the top 3 listed links.
  • Students were unlikely to access virtual help while using a LibGuide page.
  • Students found getting to the LibGuides challenging.


  • Improve visibility. Create a link on the library’s homepage with a short description of what a Library Guide is. Include more information about Library Guides on existing links on the library website.
  • Explore opportunities to promote Library Guides from websites external to the library.
    This could attract users that don’t frequent the library’s website.
  • Improve search rankings. Library Guides should be the top result and the resultant link should go directly to the university’s LibGuides homepage.
  • Improve help support. Include a chat widget near the Ask Us icon on LibGuides’ pages to make the chat option more recognizable and to combat the issues with the Ask Us icon.
  • Improve design elements. Create or improve the descriptions under each link. Students consult the descriptions when deciding which link is the most appropriate for them.
  • Enhance content scannability. Increase the font of headings to allow the page to be more scannable.

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