In 2010, the Oregon Tech Library moved to a new campus-wide content management system. This change, and the popularization of products such as LibGuides and Library a la Carte, inspired Oregon Tech librarians to develop new subject guides. As a means of participating in the new system and of saving money, the library created a subject guide format to be used on the web content management system, Sitefinity. The guide format was designed by a committee with librarian and library staff input, but without assistance from students— the target audience. As a result, the guides that were developed tended to be text heavy and riddled with library jargon that did not make sense to students. In addition, the guides were difficult to edit, resulting in dated content and frequent broken links. While instruction librarians would push relevant guides in their classes, they never caught on among students.
By 2014, Oregon Tech librarians were aware of problems with their subject guides and had begun to consider technology and formatting changes to make the guides more accessible. Two librarians attended usability courses (through Library Juice Academy and Acquia) and decided to employ usability research methods to design a guide format that would better meet student needs.
How Do Undergraduates Research? A User Experience Experience.
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