Eric Larson

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    Put Your Money Where The Mouse is: Tools and Techniques for Making Informed Design Decisions
    (2015-03-19) Larson, Eric; Hanson, Cody
    Last spring we spoke at the Library Technology Conference about the process we used to redesign our library’s website, and in particular, how we focused on our homepage, our most-used page by far. Having launched our site, we were eager to learn how well we were meeting the needs of our users, and set out to gather detailed data about user interactions with our homepage. We developed a custom javascript library to capture user interaction data on our homepage, anonymously recording each link that is clicked and every search query performed in Google Analytics. Analysis of the click events has shown us clearly those features of our page that engage our users, and those that may just be distractions. Meanwhile, the collection of search query terms allows us to examine the most common discovery trends and evaluate the relevancy of search results from our catalog. Our homepage serves many purposes and many constituencies, and every design decision is an exercise in balancing user needs and organizational priorities. Our homepage usage data gives us a realistic measure of our users’ revealed priorities, and forces necessary, if sometimes uncomfortable conversations about how we balance user productivity and efficiency against our institutional desire to promote services, news and events, and less-used parts of our collections. In this session, we’ll describe in detail the techniques we used to gather and analyze these data, as well as other methods to achieve similar results with less custom development. We’ll also discuss the changes we’ve made to our site as a result, and how we’re using this information in conversations about site and service priorities.