Submitted by Robyn Ness:  OSUL staff were invited to several sessions in March to discuss their insights into our users’ needs for the OSUL website. Opportunities to further discuss the website and user needs will be announced later this month and throughout the summer as we work through the design phase.

In addition to discussing user needs, those who attend these sessions also worked on personas to represent typical users, which will be used to guide design. (Finalized personas are still in the works – we received a lot examples to work with!)

Some reoccurring themes during discussion included:

• Our current site isn’t presented from a user perspective, and the existing tabs don’t make sense to users.
• Our site uses language our some of users don’t understand, including circulation, reference, course reserves, interlibrary loan, and Articles Express.
• There are too many layers to navigate.
• We don’t even always know who in OSUL does what or how to refer patrons who need additional expertise.
• We want users to feel good about their online library/search experience, but right now we feel they don’t.

We also talked about the things that were most important to users, which largely overlapped with what users told us in the survey. Examples include:

• off-campus sign in
• interlibrary loan
• room reservations
• “sidebar on main page,” including the research database link
• a mobile friendly site

We also identified bigger questions for the organization, including need for:

• a long term vision for online content so we don’t keep migrating to new systems
• clarity around who “owns” which content, especially with staffing or organizational changes
• clarity around archiving old content so we feel comfortable removing things from the “live” site
• clear guidelines on where to place public vs. internally-focused content
• opportunities to be more transparent with some of our procedures (things we look for in our peers’ public sites, but don’t share in our own)

While we don’t yet have answers to many of these questions, we will continue discussion about them.

See the full notes summary. <>