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Subject resources pages improved with the help of student panel

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Library Services works with the Library Services Student Panel to improve services from the OU Library and one of the ways we do this is to conduct regular user experience research and usability testing. Through this process we have observed that on the Selected Resources for your study pages most students could navigate through the subject headings easily, but lots of testing participants were then not noticing the list of resources for that subject appearing.

What has changed?

In the Selected Resources for your study pages, you previously had to select a top level subject, then a second level subject before seeing a list of resources (See Figure 1). Now when you click on the top level subject you see the list of databases for that subject, and when you click on the second level subject you see the list of journals, ebooks and databases. (See Figure 2)

Screenshot showing a top level subject without a list of resources

Figure 1 - Screenshot showing a top level subject without a list of resources

Screenshot showing a top level subject with a list of databases

Figure 2 - Screenshot showing a top level subject with a list of databases

The intention behind this change is to make the list of library databases for a subject visible as soon as you click on the top level subject. This will give you a visual clue that will help you know what to expect when you click on the second level subjects. It will also mean that if you return to a library database that you use regularly you won’t have to navigate to the second level.  You will therefore be able to get to your database faster if you like to go through the ‘Selected Resources for your study’ page.

Going forward

This first phase change does not improve the navigation of these pages quite as much as we would like, but it does improve visibility of resource lists. We will be carrying out further consultation with the Library Services student panel in early 2017 to understand what you need from those pages and test other changes that we hope will further improve the ease of navigation.

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