What is it about?

We used usability tests and semi-structured interviews to investigate student preferences for guide navigation in our redesigned subject guides. No clear preference emerged for either of the two navigation options investigated (side and tabbed). A particularly interesting additional finding was that several students reacted negatively to the inclusion of profile photos of subject librarians. The data supported the continued maintenance of subject guides, but we emphasise the need for libraries to continuously seek feedback from students and make improvements.

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Why is it important?

LibGuides is widely used by libraries worldwide. Sharing of best practice will potentially benefit hundreds of libraries and thousands of students. Our study also provides a perspective from outside North America, which tend to dominate the literature.


I learned a lot from working on this project. The study was certainly not perfect (as we discuss in the article) but I feel confident that our subject guides benefited from the time we spent here. The ambiguous reaction to subject librarian profile photos was a bit of a surprise to me, as I had previously simply assumed that librarians should be put front and centre. Although we ultimately decided to keep these, we did make the photos smaller and include them on only the homepage of each subject guide.

Mr Christopher Chan
Hong Kong Baptist University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Redesigning subject guides with usability testing: a case study, Journal of Web Librarianship, July 2019, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/19322909.2019.1638337.
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