Libraries website usability testing


In April we tested the Libraries section of the website for usability testing, which is a very popular and well used part of Warickshire Direct. We tested a set of common tasks that visitors use the website for:

  1. Find and reserve a book using the website – The Hobbit (2012 edition) by J R R Tolkien
  2. Find opening hours of the library and if you can connect to WiFi
  3. Renew an on-loan book on the website
  4. Find out the charge for an overdue book.

We are looking at replacing the current library catalogue system, so some of the findings and improvements may be delayed until the new catalogue is in place.

Findings and improvements

Library catalogue

  • Search terms were not “fuzzy” did not return results for misspelling or for added years – e.g “The hobbit 2012”
    • We will review this when the new catalogue system is in and see if search is any better, see if this can be configured to allow for better search results.
  • Catalogue search box not clearly labelled, just says “search” but not what you are searching for.
    • Change “search” to “Library catalogue search”, “Search for books, cd’s or dvd’s” or similar in the new catalogue.
  • The “request” button wasn’t obvious to users, it’s a bit hidden on the right hand side of the page.
    • This button is re-positioned and is a lot more prominent in the new library catalogue.
  • When viewing the book availability, there are no links to request an item directly from the availability list.
    • We will see if it is possible to add links in the new catalogue system.

Renew library items

  • Users missed the green “renew” button at the top of the page, mostly because it blends in with the rest of the site design and people were looking for a link.
    • The button is now blue to make it more prominent and there is now a text link underneath the button
  • The button goes through to a log in page, could users log in directly on the Renew page?
    • This is not possible with the current catalogue system, we will investigate whether it will work on the new system.

Overdue library items

  • There is no information about how much the fine is for overdue items – have to click through to another page.
    • Move fine information to this page so users get all the information in one place – we are awaiting for confirmation before making this change.

Library costs and fines

  • This page includes the fine information for overdue items.
    • Move fines to the “overdue items” page so all information is in one place – We are awaiting confirmation before making this change.
    • Rename page to Library costs once any changes have been made.

Individual library pages – e.g. Rugby Library

  • The large street-view map at the top takes up a lot of space and also loads slowly.
    • We’ve created a tabbed interface for maps, putting the map and street-view map in tabs below opening times.
  • The “Under on roof” heading not very descriptive.
    • It’s now changed to “What we offer” to make more sense.
  • The contents at the bottom of the page (What we offer) could be linked to more information.
    • These entries have been linked to pages containing the relevant information.

Website search results

  • Some libraries were not showing up in search results.
    • We’ve added recommended search results for specific libraries.
  • There are no results when searching for library costs or fines
    • We’ve added an entry for the library costs and fines page
  • Add the library catalogue results to the main website search results as a tab, therefore people can search the library catalogue using the main website search box
    • We will investigate whether this is possible once the new catalogue is in place.

Other updates

  • Add local library opening times in the home-page libraries feature box.
    • We are currently developing location features which will allow us to determine a users local library. Once this is in place we can show a users local opening times based on their physcal location.
  • Google Places entries are wrong or out of date
    • We have gone through the Google entries and updated the opening times and address information to be correct. This will also help with Google search results.
  • Warwickshire District libraries page showing up in Google search results, which has incorrect links through to our website
    • We have contacted Warwick District and they have updated their web-page accordingly

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