The Website Design and Usability of US Academic and Public Libraries

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Anthony Shong-Yu Chow, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: This paper describes the results of a nationwide study which examined the design, layout, content, site management, and usability of 1,469 academic and public library websites from all 50 states in the United States. Our findings show common trends for homepage design, navigation, and information architecture. Library websites were found to consistently provide information about hours of operation (97.9 percent), library address (91 percent), news and events (88.9 percent), access to OPACs (84.6 percent), online renewal (77.7 percent), contact information (72.5 percent), and ability to give feedback (74.2 percent). Websites were mainly designed (33 percent) and managed (50 percent) by librarians as part of their professional job duties and the majority did not conduct any web usability testing (72.3 percent). This study provides a profile of how the nation’s academic and public libraries design and manage their websites and how this compares to recommended best practices from the research literature. Library websites rated high in general usability based on recognized heuristics; however, a need to conduct usability evaluations remains. A basic set of guidelines for library webpage design is proposed.

Additional Information

Reference & User Services Quarterly
Language: English
Date: 2014
academic libraries, public libraries, librarians, websites, design and management

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