Christina D. Mune, information technology services director at San Jose State University’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, presented “Ready, Set, Search! Launching a Discovery Assessment Campaign” on Saturday, June 23, 2017 at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. The program was sponsored by the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA).
Copies of a discovery assessment grid were distributed at the start of the program so attendees could follow along with Mune’s method and leave with a “bare bones” plan for their own institutions. San Jose State University is part of the California State University (CSU) system, which encompasses 23 campuses and libraries. CSU recently transitioned to Primo’s OneSearch discovery layer to serve as a system-wide search engine for the library network. As part of this process, Mune launched a variety of user experience (UX) testing initiatives to gather feedback about OneSearch from library employees, undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty. Mune noted that it is important to get input from everyone in the assessment process in order to form a complete picture of discovery effectiveness. She enlisted a web services librarian, web programmer, and electronic resources coordinator, all of whom were already invested in discovery, to help with the process.
Mune began her assessment campaign activities with couples feedback. This straightforward process involves pairing participants and asking them to discuss and record their responses to a set of questions. In this case Mune wanted to know what was going well, what could be improved, and if there were any questions about the new discovery system. Other feedback methods included problem tracking using a Google form and Trello, embedded surveys on the library website, and focus groups. Student assistants also helped with 5-minute UX sessions, which were particularly successful thanks to the offer of free chips or candy. Finally, Mune rounded out her campaign by using analytics pulled from the Primo Action Report and CrazyEgg heat maps to gather statistical data. CrazyEgg is a particularly interesting tool because it tracks percentages of clicks on a website and gives a visual representation of user interaction.
The results of Mune’s discovery assessment campaign revealed that the library network needed to simplify its interface, make help options more obvious, and find new terminology to replace jargon that was confusing to users. More education about new services was also identified as a need across the network.
Mune’s program slides along with example forms and UX questions are available at tinyurl.com/readysetsearch.