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State of the Web: April 2011 May 10, 2011

Posted by davidjdahl in Assessment, State of the website.
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Historically, April has been one of the busiest months for the Library’s website. This year was no different.

Overall Numbers

Pageviews 392,762
Visits 130,631
Pages per visit 3.01
Average time on site 3:24
Busiest day Tuesday, April 26, 2011 (6,664 visits)
Busiest hour of the day Noon (10,336 visits)

Visitor Profile
Here’s a little information about the 62,207 unique visitors who used our website during April.

Browser overview – the emergence of IE9.0 and FF4

Internet Explorer 9.0 is Microsoft’s newest browser. We’ve seen increased usage in the month of March, making up almost 3% or all visits from IE browsers (up from .35% in March).

Firefox 4 is Mozilla’s newest browser version. The Library website is accessed quite a bit from Firefox 4.0 – up from 349 visitors in March to 3,247. That’s about 20% of all visits from Firefox users.

distribution of browsers used during April, Internet Explore was used for over 50% of visits

Here's how the four major browsers breakdown in April.

Most visitors come from…

  • Country: United States (99.6%)
  • State: Maryland (96.65%)
  • City: Towson (81.29%)

Over 1400 visits came from 74 other countries.

Content overview

Most accessed pages

Research Databases 22,031 pageviews
Journal List 11,635 pageviews
Off-campus Login 10,537 pageviews
Citing Source 7,891 pageviews
Subject Gateways 6,328 pageviews

Mobile Website Overview

The Library also maintains a version of the website that is optimized for mobile devices. Below are some statistics about its usage.

Pageviews 957
Visits 601
Pages per visit 1.6

Mobile Device analysis

The distribution of operating systems used to access the Library’s mobile website did not change significantly.  Of all visits, 54.2% came from an Apple product using the iPhone operating system (OS). This was followed by devices with the Android OS (29.7%) and the Blackberry OS (10.2%).

chart showing top mobile devices by number of visits.

Here are the mobile devices that visit the Library's website most frequently.

Top mobile pages

Library Hours 239
Phone numbers 61
Research Tools 29
Directions 29
What’s Where 26

What We’re Doing

A lot! The Subject and Course Gateways will be undergoing some upgrades this summer to make it even easier for librarians to build useful research guides to help you with your research. The Library’s Help Guides committee is continuing to add new materials to the Help Guides collection. In collaboration with OTS, we’re working on more mobile solutions and a web service to show which computers in the library are available at any given time! If there’s anything you’d like to see added to our web presence please feel free to suggest it. Summer is a great time for us to make improvements to the website, so expect to see some new things in the Fall.

State of the Website: March 2011 April 5, 2011

Posted by davidjdahl in Assessment, State of the website.
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March. They say “in like a lion out like a lamb” and vice versa, but for library websites, March is all lion all the time.  With midterms and research paper deadlines, the Library’s website gets a lot of use during March – even with Spring Break thrown in there! Below are some usage statistics for the month.

Overall Numbers

Pageviews 396,700
Visits 121,612
Pages per visit 3.26
Average time on site 3:34
Busiest day Monday, March 7, 2011 (6,483 visits)
Busiest hour of the day Noon (6,797 visits)

Visitor Profile
Here’s a little information about the 62,207 unique visitors who used our website during March.

Browser overview

Nearly 67% of our visitors use Internet Explorer (IE) when viewing our website.  Below is a breakdown of the various versions of IE that are used. If you’re not on IE 8.0 yet, it’s probably time to upgrade!

pie chart showing distribution of visitors according to the version of Internet Explore they're using

Distribution of visitors using different versions of Internet Explorer

Most visitors come from…

  • Country: United States (99.5%)
  • State: Maryland (95.67%)
  • City: Towson (79.21%)

Over 600 visits came from 71 other countries.

Content overview

Most accessed pages

Research Databases 20,827 pageviews
Journal List 13,393 pageviews
Off-campus Login 10,248 pageviews
Citing Source 9,997 pageviews
Subject Gateways 7,289 pageviews

Most used databases

Academic Search Premier accessed 2,334 times
Business Source Complete accessed 1,551 times
LexisNexis accessed 1,533 times
CINAHL accessed 1,427 times
JStor accessed 1,291 times

These are all great databases, but the Library has many more. Be sure to take a look at the Library’s Subject Gateways to find more databases in your subject area.

Mobile Website Overview

The Library also maintains a version of the website that is optimized for mobile devices. Below are some statistics about its usage.

Pageviews 1,140
Visits 674
Pages per visit 1.7

Mobile Device analysis

A chart indicating the top 10 devices used to visit the Library's mobile site

A listing of the top 10 mobile devices used to access the library's mobile website, displaying the total number of visits for each device.

The distribution of operating systems used to access the Library’s mobile website did not change significantly.  Of all visits, 54.2% came from an Apple product using the iPhone operating system (OS). This was followed by devices with the Android OS (29.7%) and the Blackberry OS (10.2%).

Top mobile pages

Library Hours 283
Phone numbers 64
Research Tools 59
Mobile Catalog 40
What’s Where 35

What We’re Doing

As mentioned in the February report, the Library has been working on a new web presence for Special Collections and Archives (http://cooklibrary.towson.edu/spcoll). The site was launched on March 22nd and received over 800 views during the remainder of the month! Special Collections also launched a Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/tuspcoll) to help you keep up on the department’s projects, as well as some interesting artifacts and tidbits of information they find along the way.

For the Library’s mobile site, we’ve stopped redirecting iPad users to it.  While the iPad is a mobile device, the web browsing experience is good enough that it’s easy to use the Library website just as if you were on a desktop.  If you’re an iPad user and prefer the mobile site, you can still access it directly at http://cooklibrary.towson.edu/m.

Some of the data on the Library website is brought in from other applications. (For instance, our hours/events information is stored in Google Calendar.)  This allows us to provide up-to-date information without a lot of manual labor. This works well most of the time, but occasionally those other applications don’t load properly, which can cause big problems.  We’ve added error handling code to catch these errors that prevent the website from loading properly.

State of the website: February 2011 March 3, 2011

Posted by davidjdahl in Assessment, State of the website.
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This is the first in a series of monthly posts giving an overview of how our website is being used.  (Site statistics are tracked using Google Analytics, except for the mobile website, which uses PercentMobile.) And now for the results…

Overall Numbers

Pageviews 353,953
Visits 100,340
Pages per visit 3.53
Average time on site 4:06
Busiest day Monday, February 28, 2011 (6,512 visits)
Busiest hour of the day Noon (5,835 visits)

Visitor Profile
Here’s a little information about the 56,020 unique visitors who used our website during February.

Browser overview

Internet Explorer (67%) was the most used browser during February

Distribution of browsers used on the Library's website during February 2011

Connection speed: Most users (63.5%) use our website via a T1 connection.  Less than 1% access the website with a dial-up connection.

Most visitors come from…

  • Country: United States (99.52%)
  • State: Maryland (95.99%)
  • City: Towson (81.67%)

While the majority of visits do come from within the United States, the library website has been accessed 477 times from 70 countries during February.

Content overview

Most accessed pages

Research Databases 18,072 pageviews
Journal List 12,859 pageviews
Citing Sources 8,125 pageviews
Off-campus Login 8,046 pageviews
Subject Gateways 6,648 pageviews

Most used databases

Academic Search Premier accessed 1,486 times
LexisNexis Academic accessed 1,417 times
CINAHL accessed 1,348 times
Business Source Complete accessed 1,095 times
JStor accessed 1,030 times

Mobile Website Overview

The Library also maintains a version of the website that is optimized for mobile devices. Below are some statistics about its usage.

Pageviews 1,084
Visits 555
Pages per visit 1.9

Mobile Device analysis

top 10 devices used to access the library's mobile website

A listing of the top 10 mobile devices used to access the library's mobile website, displaying the total number of visits for each device.

Almost 53% of visits to the Library’s mobile website came from an Apple product using the iPhone operating system (OS). This was followed by devices with the Android OS (30.5%) and the Blackberry OS (10.3%).

Top mobile pages

Library Hours 207
Phone numbers 76
Research Tools 57
What’s Where 35
Directions 29

What We’re Doing

Right now the buzzword is ‘mobile’.  The Library has had a mobile website available for quite some time now, but we’re looking to expand the services we offer via mobile devices as well as the quality of your library experience on your mobile device.  If you’ve used your phone recently to access the Library’s website, you may have noticed that we “magically” redirect you to our mobile website.  This is because we’ve added some code to the website to determine if you’re using a mobile device.  Anytime you visit a site, your device/browser sends information to the website that we can use to distinguish a desktop computer from a cell phone.  Well, sometimes some users are redirected to the mobile site by mistake (based on the info the website gets from their device).  Through recent diligent attention to the traffic going to our mobile site, we’ve been able to catch many of these false redirects.  Comparing the first week of the month to the last week, we’ve increased our accuracy from 78% to 96% (pretty good!). We’ll keep watching the logs and updating our code to make sure we send you to the correct place!

In other web news, Special Collections is undergoing a redesign of their web space.  Special Collections has a lot of great historical resources and information about the University and the region; the new site will be designed to make these resources more accessible to everyone. Look for the redesigned site to be available by the end of March.

Screenshot of the new home page for Special Collections.

A preview of the new home page for Special Collections.

You name it May 27, 2009

Posted by davidjdahl in Feedback.
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So, we have this page of websites that can be used as reference sources (http://cooklibrary.towson.edu/referenceShelf.cfm).  It has links to online dictionaries, thesauri, biographical info, and much more.  What should we call it?  The name has to suggest what it is.

Vote for one or offer your own suggestion.

So close I can click it… May 18, 2009

Posted by davidjdahl in Designs.
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…but not yet.

The new site is starting to take shape, and we’re excited to give you a chance to try it out.  We have a few more tweaks and some work on the homepage to complete before we’re ready for that.  There’s a lot of debris lying around and we’d hate for you to trip and fall.  For now, we have some screenshots.  Consider this your guided tour of our construction site.

The Homepage

Our homepage sans pretty colors

Our homepage sans pretty colors

You’ll find that the homepage is looking a little monotone right now.  Don’t worry, the colors are coming.  We’re doing some building from the ground up, making sure our designs fit the pages that contain content (our internal pages); then we can apply those designs, colors, etc. to the homepage.  The homepage will feature navigation to any of the internal pages on our site, a souped-up search box, a calendar of events in the library, and a tentatively-labeled “featured items” area.  Just wanted to let you know we have a homepage…

Secondary Pages

All of our secondary pages will have a similar layout.  I’ve chosen our Research Databases page to give you a walk-through of the features that each page will have (most of these will be on the homepage as well).   From top-to-bottom, left-to-right here’s what we’ll be looking at: the header, navigation menus, the search box, quick tools, and related pages.

The new Research Databases page

The new secondary page layout

The Header

header

The header section

The header area will contain links to external departments and services that you’ve told us we need to include.  These include Blackboard, Webmail, and Academic Achievement Center amongst others.  Putting these on each page will give you direct access to the other Towson services you use frequently.  You can also access the Towson homepage and the Cook Library homepage in the header section.

Navigation Menus

Hovering over a menu name will expand the list for you to choose a page

Hovering over a menu name will expand the list for you to choose a page

The navigation menus contain links to other secondary pages (i.e. subject gateways, citing sources, interlibrary loan, etc.).  These are organized pretty similarly to the current library website to make things easy for you to find.  Hover over a menu to see a list of pages under each category.  This is the main method of getting around the website.

In this section, you’ll also notice that our library hours for the current day are listed (don’t worry we’re not really only open until 2 PM).  A more detailed list of our hours are available through the “View Library Hours” link.  A link to our “Ask a Librarian” page is also in this section, in bright colors, so you can find us easily in your time of crisis.

The Search Box

Our new tabbed search box will allow you to do various searches directly from the homepage or any other page on the website.  Need an article?  Click the “Articles” tab, type in your search terms, and Academic Search Premier and MasterFile will be searched for articles.

The new library search box - providing easy access to articles, books, and more

The new library search box - providing easy access to articles, books, and more

The same goes for Books+ (searches the library catalog) and Cook Website (searches the library’s website).  Here you can also find quick links to things like the Subject Gateways and the complete list of databases.

Quick Tools

Get access to the library tools you use the most

Get access to the library tools you use the most

The Quick Tools menu is exactly what the name indicates.  It provides quick access to the tools that you’ve told us you use the most.  Quickly and easily connect from off-campus access, access the library catalog, get information on citing sources, or see which floor has the book you are looking for.  Do you think something is missing from this menu?  Let us know.  We’ll look into it (though we don’t want the list to become so exhaustive that it is no longer quick).

Related Pages

Related pages make browsing easier

Related pages make browsing easier

Related pages display a list of links for other library pages (or occasionally other websites) that have similar or related content to the page at which you are currently looking.  This makes it easier to browse the website.  For instance, if you’re looking at the list of databases, you will see links to the Subject Gateways, which organize the databases by subject area, and Research Port, which will allow you to login from off-campus.

End of Tour

I hope you’ve enjoyed our quick tour through the features of the library’s new website.  As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome; just attach them to this blog entry.

Packin’ up, shippin’ out April 17, 2009

Posted by davidjdahl in Activity.
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Thanks for your input!  From the looks of it, most of you like the prototype for the homepage (70% of thumbs are pointing up!).  For those who aren’t as impressed, we’re still working on things – let us know what you’d like to see.

So what have we been working on?

The library web committee has been hard at work over the past two weeks, putting together a preliminary web-based prototype.  Now, we’ve shipped it out (emailed it, that is) to the usability lab at University of Baltimore for some offsite usability testing over the next few weeks.  Three groups of graduate students studying interaction design will spend hours testing participants, analyzing results, and compiling reports for us to use as we refine our designs.

What is usability?

Usability is what makes your VCR “a piece of junk” when it eats your videotape even though you put it in upside-down, it’s why your car has keyless entry (those locks are hard to find in the dark), and it’s why everyone loves Apple products. Oh no wait, that’s aesthetics (jk).

Usability is the perspective that every mistake the user makes reflects poorly on the product’s (in this case, the website’s) design.  By focusing on the usability of our design, we can produce a website that is easy to learn, use, and remember.  Though it’s most likely impossible to make something 100% usable, it’s a goal that we feel is worthy of our continued effort.

Stay tuned for results…

The birth of a new website April 6, 2009

Posted by davidjdahl in Designs.
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At our last committee meeting, we began making some prototypes of the new library website.  As a result we now have a preliminary homepage design.  We hope that you’ll find it cleaner and visually more pleasing than the current homepage without making it difficult to access the things you really need.

An initial prototype of the new library homepage

An initial prototype of the new library homepage

There is a “Quick Tools” area for those items you use the most, a centralized search box with options for getting to the resources you need, and news items that spotlight new resources, activities, and events at Cook Library.  Amidst all this we’ve kept the familiar three-category navigation scheme: Research, Services, and About Cook.  Hovering over one of the three labels will produce a drop-down menu of items like Research Databases, Citing Sources, etc.

Nothing is set in stone yet, so let us know what you think of our new design.

Next up: Navigation…

Data for me, data for you… April 3, 2009

Posted by davidjdahl in Assessment, Feedback.
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We’ve collected a lot, or should I say A LOT, of data from all of you (thanks!).  This data is now available for your viewing pleasure.  Feel free to take a look.  We’ve analyzed and interpreted the data, but we’d be interested in your interpretations as well, so please post your comments.

Here’s some of what we’ve observed:

  • Research databases, journals/periodicals, library catalogs, citing sources are the most used links on our site, so those should probably be easy to find and access.
  • You would like a more visually engaging website (i.e. less text, more images).
  • You would like access to electronic resources to be easier from off-campus.

Look forward to some basic sketches/prototypes making their way to the blog soon!

All out of (card) sorts… February 20, 2009

Posted by davidjdahl in Activity, Assessment, Feedback.
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How would you organize the library’s website? Four groups stepped up to answer this challenging question on Feb. 19th. Amongst the participants were students, faculty, and library staff, working in groups to organize 85 items (represented by notecards) that appear (or will appear) on the library’s soon-to-be-redesigned website into 4 or 5 categories. Simple enough, right? Turns out, it’s harder than it looks.

A group works to put all of their cards into categories

A group works to put all of their cards into categories

Participants were given approximately 40 minutes to organize the cards and assign a label to the categories into which they grouped the cards. Then, using colored stickers, they were given 20 minutes to indicate their confidence level that the card belonged in the category in which they placed it. I can’t wait to see what they came up with and share the results with everyone.

Participants begin the sorting of cards

Participants begin the sorting of cards

The library website committee, including myself, would like to express our deep gratitude to all those who participated in this not-so-easy activity. Participants engaged in thoughtful discussion during the process and were key to the events success. From what I heard, everyone enjoyed the process as well. (I suppose the free food may have had something to do with that.)

Wish you had participated???

Lucky for you, we’re not done getting your opinions, suggestions, and comments. We will be conducting more usability tests in March and April based on our initial prototypes of the website. If you’re interested in participating, drop me an email.

Until then, you are always welcome to post your comments on our blog.

Thanks for the feedback! January 14, 2009

Posted by Cook Library in Assessment, Feedback.
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November and December were busy gathering feedback from faculty and students.  Faculty members participated in a focus group and we had 94 students respond to a web site user survey!  Thanks to everybody who participated. If you missed the chance, there’s more opportunities to get involved.

You can always give your feedback at cookredesign.uservoice.com

We are going through the data and looking at a new design with your comments and suggestions in mind.  Your next opportunity to participate is to be a member of the usability study team. The usability study team will give feedback on a new site design.

Some of you already said yes! we want to participate.  Someone from the web redesign team will be in touch after the semester starts with more info.  You’ll be thanked for your time and effort with a thank you gift.

Interested?  Email cookredesign and let us know.

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