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LIS Website – Student Survey Results & Recommendations

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

I’ve compiled the results from the LIS Website Team’s survey of LIS students workers where we asked about familiarity with areas of the LIS website and knowledge of web technologies. This was a shorter survey than the staff version with 20 students responding to the 2009 version and 17 completed 2010 surveys. Before I present the results of the student survey, I want to share my recommendations based on the results of both surveys. These are just my initial thoughts. The LIS Website Team will compile its recommendations based off this data, the comments included with both surveys, and usability testing we’re conducting this month.

[Reminder: If you want to participate in usability testing, reply to the all-campus email that was sent Wednesday, April 7 with the times when you would be available.]

My Recommendations

  • Establish education programs for RSS, surveying and using the research guides. LIS will soon be forming an Education & Training team and we should recommend that this team prioritize training programs on these services, which our survey showed were unfamiliar to a large portion of LIS staff and student workers. Training on surveying could include both how to use the survey tool as well as research best practices, an area where having a Faculty adviser would be very helpful.
  • Improve visibility of the Emergency Protocols and make sure this information is up-to-date. Both LIS staff and student workers were largely unfamiliar with this documentation. Due to its nature, we need to make sure that these documents are available and understood.
  • Advertise the website as a primary source for information. LIS staff reported that many people still contact them directly for information that is available on the website. When contacted, we should refer people directly to the website to encourage people to go there first in the future.
  • Improve the Staff Directory. With so many staffing changes in the last year, and more to come, it’s understandable that we haven’t maintained the staff directory as well as we should. Hopefully, the Identity Management project will give us new ways to automate the staff directory and more information about its structure.
  • Make LIS event and space information more visible. We’ll be working with the Events Management Office over the summer on additional scheduling tools for the spaces managed by LIS. We need to make sure that this information is prominently featured on the website.

Student Survey Results

Question 2: What features of the new LIS website work or could be improved?

The hours of service for the library and the locations of LIS services both improved with the new site. This is good, since our examination of analytics data showed that these are the most visited sections of the LIS website. Students are still largely unfamiliar with the research guides and the tagging features of our site.

StudentSurveyQuestion2ContactStudentSurveyQuestion2DepartmentsStudentSurveyQuestion2EmergencyStudentSurveyQuestion2EventsStudentSurveyQuestion2HelpdeskStudentSurveyQuestion2HoursStudentSurveyQuestion2LocationsStudentSurveyQuestion2ResearchStudentSurveyQuestion2SpacesStudentSurveyQuestion2StatusStudentSurveyQuestion2Tagging

Question 3: Is there information not on the LIS Website that would be useful to include?

There was no change in the LIS student workers’ response to this question between the 2009 and 2010 surveys. Most respondents still feel that the information that needs to be available on the LIS Website is present.

StudentSurveyQuestion3

Question 4: What is your level of comfort with the following technologies?

There was increase comfort with all of the technologies on the 2010 survey with the largest improvements in Blogs, Wikis, and Content Management Systems. This was expected as these were the tools used to build the new LIS website and several student workers were involved in that effort. The respondents were less comfortable with RSS and surveying.

StudentSurveyQuestion4BlogsStudentSurveyQuestion4CMSStudentSurveyQuestion4IMStudentSurveyQuestion4RSSStudentSurveyQuestion4SurveysStudentSurveyQuestion4Wikis

Data Sets

Full Student Worker Suvery 2009

Summary Student Worker Survey 2009

Full Student Worker Survey 2010

Summary Student Worker Survey 2010

LIS Website – Staff Survey Results

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Thanks to all the LIS staff who responded to the LIS Website Team’s survey! There were 63 responses to our 2009 survey, prior to the redesign of the LIS Website, and 24 responses to our more recent survey, after the launch of the new site. In this post, I will share some of the results of these surveys and compare the feedback between the two surveys. I’ll discuss the student survey in another post.

Question 3: How important is it for you to reach each of these audiences with your web content?

There was little change between the 2009 and 2010 surveys in which audiences LIS staff see as the primary visitors for their sites. In general, LIS staff now feel that it is less important to reach all of the audiences, but reaching students, faculty and staff remain the primary audiences. Faculty is now the most important audience, where LIS staff had been the most important audience on the 2009 survey.

StaffSurveyQuestion3

Question 5: How often do YOU use these LIS website features?

There was little change in the usage of LIS website features between the 2009 and 2010 surveys. There was a slight increase in the use of LIS Blogs and the LIS Wiki, which we anticipated as we’ve focused a large amount of effort to improve both of these platforms in the last year, particularly by adding documentation to our wiki. The only service that saw decreased usage was the LIS staff directory.

StaffSurveyQuestion4

Because of the smaller number of responses on the 2010 survey, the increase usage of the LIS Blog and LIS Wiki is not noticable until you examine the responses for each category as a percentage of the total responses. This view for each of the items is shown on the charts below.

StaffSurveyQuestion5BlogsStaffSurveyQuestion5CatalogStaffSurveyQuestion5DirectoryStaffSurveyQuestion5GuidesStaffSurveyQuestion5HelpdeskStaffSurveyQuestion5NewslettersStaffSurveyQuestion5Wiki

Question 6: What features of the LIS website could be improved?

There is a clear trend with each of the responses to this question: many of the staff who felt that each of these features could be improved in 2009 now feel that these features work on our site! However, there remains a large segment of LIS staff who are not aware of these features of the LIS site, suggesting both that LIS staff may not visit the LIS site often and, for those who do, we need to do a better job of promoting these features.

The one exception to this trend is emergency procedures, where fewer respondents in 2010 believe this section of our site works and a larger percentage are unfamiliar with this content. Given the nature of this information, especially its importance to LIS staff who were the subjects of these surveys, we need to focus on improving access to this information. Hours of service and space availability were other areas that saw less improvement than other features of the site, though both were improved between the two survey groups.

StaffSurveyQuestion6ContactsStaffSurveyQuestion6DepartmentsStaffSurveyQuestion6EmergencyStaffSurveyQuestion6EventsStaffSurveyQuestion6HelpStaffSurveyQuestion6HoursStaffSurveyQuestion6LocationsStaffSurveyQuestion6ResearchStaffSurveyQuestion6SpacesStaffSurveyQuestion6TaggingStaffSurveyQuestion6Status

Question 7: Do users often contact you for information that is available on the website?

There was little change in the response to this question between 2009 and 2010, which might suggest that we need to improve advertising of the website as a primary source for information, or steer people who contact us to the website to find the information. We should ask people who contact us whether they checked the website to find this information first to determine if the issue is people not using self-service methods to get information or if the information is too difficult to find on the site.

StaffSurveyQuestion7

Question 8: Is there information not on the new LIS Website that would be useful to include?

The 2010 survey shows a dramatic improvement in this metric. I believe this is a result of the process we conducted to transfer information to the new website: all information had to be transferred by hand so people doing the work put a lot of though into including only the necessary information. It’s also probable that the permissions system for our new site, which allows areas to add people to work on the site as needed, helps keep the site up-to-date as new staff can be added to work on a site.

StaffSurveyQuestion8

Question 9: What is your level of comfort with the following technologies?

Overall, LIS staff are more comfortable with all of the technologies listed than they were in 2009. The largest growths in comfort were with Blogs and Wikis, probably as a result of their emphasized use as part of the new LIS website. The most pronounced growth in the highest level of comfort was with the use of RSS.

StaffSurveyQuestion9StaffSurveyQuestion9BlogsStaffSurveyQuestion9CMSStaffSurveyQuestion9IMStaffSurveyQuestion9RSSStaffSurveyQuestion9SurveysStaffSurveyQuestion9Wikis

Question 11: Please rate your overall experience in navigating the LIS website.

Most LIS staff still only feel ‘OK’ about navigating the website, but far fewer find it frustrating and some people actually love it now.

StaffSurveyQuestion11

Data Sources

Here are exports of the data used to create these charts. If you think I’ve misrepresented the information, please feel free to post your own results based on this data. Let us know your thoughts about the survey results in the comments section here. Thanks again to all of the staff who participated!

Full Survey Results 2009

Results Summary 2009

Full Survey Results 2010

Results Summary 2010

Supported Web Browsers

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

I was asked as a member of the LIS Website Team to put together a quick post on supported web browsers for our site. In general our guideline for supporting a browser is to keep support for it for as long as the browser’s manufacturer is supporting it. This means we will try our best to resolve issues with any browser that you can readily download from a manufacturer’s site, except for beta and pre-release versions.

These guidelines apply only to services supported by the Web Application Development workgroup. Other workgroups may have their own guidelines, for example Internet Explorer 7 is the supported browser for Internet Native Banner users.

These are the versions we support at the time of this post:

With the exception of Internet Explorer, each of these browsers have both Mac and PC versions.

I’m using internet explorer, which version should I use?

We recommend that none of our users browse the site with IE 6, but the browser still accounts for about 6.5% of our site’s traffic and we try to make sure that the site is mostly working for these users. If you are on-campus, your machine should have received an automatic update recently to move you to IE7, if you hadn’t applied that upgrade already. If you are on-campus and still using IE 6, contact the Helpdesk so your machine can be updated.

Most of the site’s features and visuals are the same in IE 7 and IE 8, but IE 8 does have a better rendering engine and will be able to support more features going forward. Users of Internet Native Banner should stay on IE 7, since that is the most recent version of Internet Explorer supported for use with INB. Others may choose to upgrade to IE 8.

What about older versions of Firefox?

The Mozilla Foundation makes available all older versions of the Firefox browser, but after a certain time stops applying security and stability updates to the browser. When that stops, it makes sense for us to stop supporting the browser for viewing and editing the site. Firefox is updated more frequently, and iteratively than Internet Explorer, making changes between its versions less severe and allowing site functionality to continue working in most cases. For this reason, we recommend always applying the updates to Firefox and sticking with the most recently released version.

There are specific issues with Firefox 3.0 that we know about on the site and are unlikely to resolve. If you’re using Firefox 3.0, please upgrade to one of the more recent versions.

Is there a different list of supported browsers for editing www.middlebury.edu?

In theory, no. We would very much like the editing experience to be the same across all of the browsers listed above. However, we are beholden to using a WYSIWYG editor that is known to have a few quirks in certain browsers. We are planning to upgrade the version of this editor shortly to address some of these issues, but need to make certain that modifications to it to allow you to browse for files in the site still work in the new version.

We don’t block you from using any browser to edit the site, but some people have noticed intermittent quirks when editing in Internet Explorer and Safari. At this time, we recommend that editors use Firefox since we have not heard of editing issue with this browser and it’s part of the default distribution package.

What about beta and pre-release browser versions?

You’re welcome to use these, and they may work, but we will not respond to bug reports about site functionality not working in a beta version of a browser. These are often caused by issues with the browser that are addressed before its final version is released and third-party systems like Wordpress and Drupal will often release their own fixes to these issues when the final version of a browser is released. It’s not efficient for us to spend time addressing these issues as well.

This recently came up because the Wordpress editing interface didn’t work in a development version of Google Chrome. The issue was resolved several days later in a new development build of the browser and is likely not something we would have been able to resolve. In circumstances like these, we recommend using one of the supported browser versions instead until the development version is updated to fix the issue.

I’m using one of the supported versions, but there’s an issue. What can I do?

People with a Middlebury College account can submit a bug report. This system allows us to communicate back-and-forth with you and gives you a view of the issue through a web interface. If you don’t have a Middlebury account, you can submit the Web Feedback form and we’ll get in touch with you via email.

If I haven’t answered your question here, leave a comment.