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Springshare hosted a four hour webinar today, focusing on the user experience. Lauren Pressley, Kyle Denlinger and I participated in the first half of this multi-presentation webinar in the ZSR screening room. Springshare supplies ZSR with LibGuides and LibAnswers.

The first presentation was by Chrissa Godbout, the Library and Information Technology Consultant at Mount Holyoke College. She discussed their recent redesign of LibGuides. She and others from the Library attended a web design workshop that led them to a plan to do focus groups with students and staff. They bribed students with chocolate covered strawberries and gave participants gift cards to the Library coffee shop. Focus group participants were shown the current LibGuide and then asked to draw their ideal research guide and describe it. From this information, the librarians created categories and ranked them by occurrence.

As a result of the focus groups, they cut way back on text, used fewer and more pleasing colors and repeated the navigation tabs at the top in the body of the home page of the guide, including descriptions of each tab. They also included RSS feeds of the articles for the professors in that department. One idea they used was the “squint test” where users squint at the web page and what pops out while squinting should be where the main contain resides!

The next program, “Going Mobile: LibAnswers SMS and the Mobile Reference Librarian” was by Darcy Gervasioa Reference & Instruction Librarian at Purchase College, SUNY. She is Text Message Reference Coordinator and the liaison librarian for Anthropology, Sociology, and Gender Studies. What Purchase discovered was that students used the texting feature from inside the building for quick answers. So Darcy and the other librarians marketed the service in that way. “Can’t find a book? Text Us!”

Emily O’Connor’s presentation, “LibCal and the Open Workshop: Bolstering Attendance, One Registration at a Time” demonstrated the LibCal application and showed me that many of the services LibCal provides, such as emailing participants, we get from posting content on the PDC site.There was a “tech time” during the break that showed how LibGuides can be embedded in a school’s default Blackboard course, making the LibGuide available to a much larger audience.

Stephanie Rollins, from Samford University, presented “Using Libanalytics to Close the Assessment Loop”Samford uses LibAnalytics to close the Instruction loop. Stephanie described how she uses this system from Initial Instruction Request to Instruction Statistics to Post-Instruction Assessment.

There were two other sessions in the afternoon, but they focused on Springshare products we don’t use at ZSR. All in all it was a very effective webinar. It was clearly popular as we were initially wait-listed to participate! The more I work with Springshare, the more impressed I am with their commitment to their customers and users. I look forward to their next webinar on a new topic.