Q: What does it take to create a user-centered website?

By Cindi Trainor |

A: Users! Cliff Landis observes a student volunteer using the Odum Library website.

My library designed and unveiled a new website for fall 2008, and one task we haven't yet attempted is gathering organized feedback through direct observation of students, while they use the site. We'll be conducting user assessments early in 2009, so I was delighted to hear Cliff Landis, Technology Librarian at Georgia's Valdosta State University talk about doing just that at Internet Librarian 2008 in October. During his talk, "Creating the User-Centered Library," Cliff talked about the Odum Library's use of surveys, focus groups, and recorded user observations to gather user feedback that they are using to make improvements to their website. User observations may seem intimidating, but Cliff's assertions that only a few volunteers are needed, only a few questions are necessary, and that it doesn't take a ton of time or planning, have me excited that we're gearing up to do our own.

The Fall 2008 report is available from the library's blog.