LibQUAL+® and Best Practices “By relying on peer information, LibQUAL+® data leads eventually to an understanding of best practices”
Benchmarking “There no single ‘best practice’ because best is not best for everyone. Every organization is different in some way -- different missions, cultures, environments, and technologies. What is meant by ‘best’ are those practices that have been shown to produce superior results; selected by a systematic process; and judged as exemplary, good, or successfully demonstrated. Best practices are then adapted to fit a particular organization.”
“A library Web site enabling me to locate information on my own”
Among the top four ‘Desired’ mean scores for ‘All’ respondents from ARL libraries since the beginnings of LibQUAL+® “A library Web site enabling me to locate information on my own”
In 2010, surpassed the highest ‘Desired’ score for the much- discussed “Print and/or electronic journal collections I require for my work” and scored second highest ‘Superiority Mean’ after “Library space that inspires study and learning”
We reviewed the scores on the Informational Control question (IC-2) for the 30 ARL Libraries that participated in LibQUAL+ in 2010 We evaluated the service superiority gap scores (i.e., the difference between the perceived score and the desired scores for the following participating libraries: the five libraries with the lowest service superiority gap scores (ranging from -0.64 to -0.94) the five libraries with the highest service superiority gap scores (ranging from -1.40 to -1.85) We scored each library web site based on three functional criteria developed by the Head of the Communications Department at the University of Connecticut, a recipient of a University Distinguished Research Faculty award for her work in new media technologies Methodological Approach
Libraries’ primary and secondary purposes underlying their web site design was unknown We did not consult with or interview actual library web site users Only the home page and some secondary pages were examined instead of all the pages on the entire website We did not have access to Google Analytics data or other means of checking web sites’ usage patterns Methodological Limitations
Each of the ten web sites examined in depth were evaluated based on the following three criteria: Evaluation Criteria 1.Visual Layout 2.Information Architecture 3.Content
Each of the ten web sites examined in depth were evaluated based on the following three criteria: Evaluation Criteria 1.Visual Layout 2.Information Architecture 3.Content a)Color – Is there a primary color and a limited number of accent colors? b)Space – Is white space minimized and is there clutter? c)Focal Point & Visual Path – Where does one look first and where is one’s visual path headed? d)Layout – Where are the highest priority tasks located?
Each of the ten web sites examined in depth were evaluated based on the following three criteria: Evaluation Criteria 2.Information Architecture 3.Content 1.Visual Layout a)Information Location – Related to the site’s purpose, does important information flow with the expected focal point and visual path? b)Content Categories – Are the key content categories easy to access? Can you get to important information in two clicks? c)Labels & Titles – Are they effective and easy to identify? d)Functionality – Is the site easy to use, interactive, and functional?
Each of the ten web sites examined in depth were evaluated based on the following three criteria: Evaluation Criteria 3.Content 2.Information Architecture 1.Visual Layout a)Clarity – Has jargon been eliminated? b)Instructions – Are they needed? Are there any missing instructions? c)Writing Quality – Is it clear, concise, and straight-forward? d)Readability – Did the designers think like a user?
Summary Findings Visual Layout 5 Highest Scoring Web Sites 5 Lowest Scoring Web Sites ColorUsed a limited number of colors Three of the five used multiple colors ClutterAll five had minimal white space All five had too much white space. Some exhibited display problems on a normal workstation and one had to scroll down to see the whole page Focal PointEyes were drawn to the search box Issues in four of five cases, from eyes being drawn to a decorative image to multiple search boxes to search box competing with a graphic LayoutSearch box was prominent on all five sites Several had distractions like too large a central image or unnecessary graphics Visual Layout Information Architecture Content
Summary Findings Information Architecture 5 Highest Scoring Web Sites 5 Lowest Scoring Web Sites Information LocationSearch box well situated and fairly easy to use Search box was complicated on three of the five websites Content CategoriesDiscovery was emphasized, primary content was emphasized with secondary content off to the side Various issues identified, such as secondary functions in prime locations, images that distracted from the sites’ discovery and service functions, and tabs stacked on top of each other Labels and TitlesEffective on all five sitesSome labels used inconsistently; others missing or don’t visually stand out FunctionalityGood on all five sitesGenerally okay, with one site having vocabulary issues Visual Layout Information Architecture Content
Summary Findings Content 5 Highest Scoring Web Sites 5 Lowest Scoring Web Sites ClarityFour did not use jargon; one used WorldCat and ILLiad references All five used jargon InstructionsInstructions not typically needed Tended to have too many instructions; some were wordy Writing QualityGenerally concise, one was wordy, one not straightforward Three were not concise; two were not straightforward ReadabilityGenerally reflected thinking like a user and were readable Various issues such as difficult for undergraduates to understand, didn’t think like a user, or made it too difficult for users Visual Layout Information Architecture Content