Discussion: Signage

ACRL/NY User Experience Discussion Group

“Signage Audits”

Date: March 23,  2012

Time: 4:00pm-5:30pm

Place: Grad Center, CUNY

Co-Chairs: Mark Aaron Polger and Albert Tablante


Present: Danise Hoover,  V. Heidi Hass, Faithe Ann Scobbo, Mark Aaron Polger, Albert Tablante, Simone Yearwood, Derek Sanderson, David Jenson, Linda Miles


Co-Chairs: Albert Tablante, Mark Aaron Polger,  Unofficial Meeting Notes: Mark Aaron Polger


  1. The group went around the table and introduced themselves. Each person contributed to the start of the discussion by explaining why they were interested in the discussion topic.
  2. Polger started to discussion and asked the group if anyone is going through a signage audit. Yearwood (QC) is Access Services Librarian at Queens College Library, CUNY and they are going through a major renovation project so they have the opportunity to evaluate signage.  Derek Sanderson (Mount Saint Mary College) serves on a signage committee, and Danise Hoover (Hunter College Library) deals with signage on a User Experience Committee at her library. Hunter College Library is also undergoing a renovation by changing the orientation of the entrance from the 3rd floor to 7th Mark Aaron Polger (CSI) talked about his recent signage audit with his colleague and discussed some of the issues involved.
  3. Each attendee spoke whether they have a signage committee at their library, or whether they participate in a signage committee, or whether a signage committee exists out of a larger committee.
  4. Some of the problems that relate to signage are:
    Too much signage
    4b. Conflicting messages
    4c. Students don’t read/respect/understand signs
    4d. Lack of consistent design, style
  5. Polger talked about his signage audit he worked on with his colleague at the College of Staten Island Library. They divided signs into different types (informational, policy, directional). They then developed a style guide that discussed best practices for font type, font colour, font size, branding issues, colour scheme, and placement of the library logo.  Danise Hoover talked about how each floor of the Hunter College Library is colour coded and the signs also reflect the different floor colour.  Polger also emphasized that he is trying to develop signs that do not contain the words “no”.
  6. The group discussed their use of policy signage for food, drink, cell phone use, and noise. Some libraries allow food and drink, while other libraries do not.   One person noted that they took photos of the garbage and food leftovers and posted signs that indicate, “Be proud of your library, don’t let your library look like this” (relating to photos of garbage and food leftovers).  These subtle messages may be viewed as both helpful and educational, or subtly manipulative.  The group ended the discussion by discussing a larger problem; student behaviour in the library.  The bigger discussion is; should librarians and libraries be responsible for addressing student behaviour?   In order to respect signs, students need to know HOW to behave in college libraries.  Discussion group adjourned at 5:30pm.
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Discussion: LibGuides

ACRL/NY User Experience Discussion Group

“Meet and Greet”

Date: Oct 7,  2011

Time: 9:15am-10:45am

Place: Mercy College

Co-Chairs: Mark Aaron Polger and Albert Tablante

Guest: Stephen Francoeur, User Experience Librarian at Newman Library, Baruch College, CUNY.



Present: Lauren Yannotta, Judith Schwartz, Danise Hoover, Linda Miles, Danielle Becker, Zinnat Sultana, Faithe Ann Scobbo, Jenna Rey Greer, Romel Espinel, Catherine Stern, Stephen Francoeur, Anne Swain, Linda Perahia, Zaakea Al-Barati, Carmen Hendershot, Gloria Meisel,


Co-Chairs: Albert Tablante, Mark Aaron Polger

Meeting Summary: Mark Aaron Polger



  1. Stephen Francoeur gave an engaging discussion of mobile-friendly LibGuides and mobile friendly databases. He illustrated that students don’t want to peruse the A-Z listing of databases but want a selected list of mobile-friendly databases to be accessed on their mobile devices. He informed the group that Google Chrome best mimics the mobile experience when testing whether a web site will work on a mobile device.


  1. For those who do not subscribe to Libguides, it is $1500/yr (approximately) and there is an e-reserves module that can be added.LibGuides can be tailored for course specific instruction. Content authors log in through a content management system to add content without needing to know HTML.


  1. Queensborough Community College Library’s entire web site is a LibGuide. Brooklyn College Library uses their own “home made” version of LibGuides called “SRMS” and their entire web site uses the “SRMS” system. The College of Staten Island Library’s list of research guides also uses Brooklyn College Library’s “SRMS” home made system.


4.      Steven Bell , Associate University Librarian for Research & Instructional Services at Temple University’s Paley Library, a well known speaker and researcher with usability testing, has done usability testing on Research Guides. He found that students don’t like to scroll and that the LibGuide content should be right on the screen for users to access. Bell is also cited for encouraging librarians to teach from specific web sites and not from LibGuide pages.  LibGuides pages should be considered a “Springboard” page where users access for short periods of time.


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Discussion: Web Site Vocabulary

ACRL/NY User Experience Discussion Group

Date: March 23, 2011

Time: 6:30-8:30

Place: CUNY Graduate Center

Co-Chairs: Mark Aaron Polger and Albert Tablante

Minutes of the meeting: Albert Tablante

Present: Loretta Merlo, Mike Handis, Judi Zupnick, Wendy Chu, Yvonne Palmer, Shirley Zhao, Alison Loto, Gina Levitan, Stefanie Havelka, Karen Erani, Albert Tablante, Mark Aaron Polger

  1. Student preferences to language on library web sites :  jargon or plain language ?

The group discussed the verbiage on library web sites. One such examples was: should the wording in the OPAC be changed from Library Catalog to “Find Books”.  Students and librarians think differently.  Some members felt that library websites should accommodate the user, which in this case are the students.  That being the case, the terminology should be in common language that would make the user experience more effective and efficient.   Other points of view included: not dumbing down the terms used.  It can be argued that by changing the verbiage to plain language, the information might be dummed down.   Some felt that some library terms should not be oversimplified while some words could be changed to plain language for ease of use. It was also discussed that developing a glossary on the library’s web site could help with explaining difficult terms.

  1. The overall user experience of a library web site.


The library web site may be the 1st and only impression some students have of the library.  Millennials or digital natives are not as technically savvy as they think they are.  The language needs to be consistent on library links.  It helps if the overall visual look is consistent as well.  This can be a challenge because of some library websites are developed using different software leading to inconsistent visual images.  Breadcrumbs can help users in navigating library web pages.  By leaving a trail, the user can retrace steps if they are lost.

  •   Usability of non library web pages.

We discussed the usability of Lexis Nexis and other sites such as Noodletools.com.  We also discussed the usability of web sites when we provide Library instruction. We discussed hoax web sites which have good design but the content is false.   Some examples discussed were : would be http://www.ding.net/bonsaikitten/, http://MartinLutherKing.org, http://manhattanairport.org  and http://malepregnancy.org .  These web sites are useful in demonstrating to students that savvy and slick web sites are often false.

  1. User experience of students relating to “library signage.” 


Some members said that there are too many signs in their libraries.  The signs are not consistent in their messages and visual “look”.  This makes the library user un-friendly. One member mentioned that book stores are a good model for comparison.

  1. The importance of “branding”

Branding relates with many of the themes in this meeting: consistent images, logos, terminology and messages. These help to create a more positive user experience.  Inconsistency in web design and language adds to user frustration and confusion.

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Discussion: In person interviews for UX Studies

ACRL/NY User Experience (UX) Discussion Group


November 12, 2010

Present: Carrie Netzer Wajda, Jeffrey Kroessler, Steve Essig, Amy Ballmer, Madeline Cohen, Jane Suda, Karen Erani, Caroline Fuchs, Stephanie Gross, Stefanie Havelka, Mark Aaron Polger

Discussion Topic: In person interviews for User Experience Studies

Carrie talked about how in person interviews can be used for web usability and user interface design studies. Camtasia was briefly discussed. Focus groups was also discussed as a method to gather data about our users. Carrie talked about Nancy Foster, who has studied students, tracked them to see what they were doing. She used in person interviews, and conversations, with follow-up questions. Questions need to be open-ended.  She spoke about videotaping users. Some faculty may feel uncomfortable as they worry about institutional politics. Some feel it’s intrusive. Carrie spoke about social media, a brand of public relations (Facebook and Twitter are some popular examples). Face to face is very important

Mark spoke of his experiences in his study on library jargon on top-level library web sites. He surveyed 300 students and over 500 librarians and compared what students prefer on top-level pages of library web sites. He compared this to what librarians report on their library web pages. His study is being considered for publication in the journal Library Philosophy and Practice, annual volume 2011.

Carrie discussed how libraries can contact consulting groups to manage user experience studies.  One such consulting group is Adaptive Path. www.adaptivepath.com

The group discussed how to get a student sample.

The group also discussed the current trend of Federated search tools on their library web sites.  They discussed EBSCO Discovery and Summit as some examples. Some prefer individual databases as opposed to using and promoting Federated searching to their users.

They discussed the balance of teaching students appropriate language so they can learn but some argued that making the language and search screens simple and straight forward may be helpful. The group agreed that they need to know their students.

User experience studies represent a large part of assessment. It is important to attend departmental meetings to get faculty sample.  Assessment can be paper or electronic. It is important to find your users in their spaces (café, campus center, office, and department).

Meeting adjourned at 10:30am.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Mark Aaron Polger, ACRL/NY User Experience Co-Chair 2010.





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Fall Meet and Greet: Friday, 11/12, Mercy College

Interested in doing user experience studies at your library but don’t know how?

Join ACRL/NY’s User Experience Discussion Group on Friday, November 12th at Mercy College from 9:15 to 10:30 am to meet librarians interested in and working on user experience studies.

We will discuss types of projects and interviewing techniques for getting effective answers out of our patrons, faculty and colleagues.

Networking from 9:15-9:30, discussion from 9:30-10:30. Refreshments will be served.

This meet-and-greet is open to anyone who wishes to come; you will need ID to get into the building.


Mercy College Manhattan Campus,
66 West 35th Street
New York, NY 10001

The B/D/F/N/Q/R/M trains all go to Herald Square.

Questions? Leave a comment and we’ll get back to you.

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Discussion: Technological Changes in the Library

ACRL/NY User Experience (UX) Discussion Group
Minutes, 2/3/10 (First Regular Meeting)
Location: Berkeley College, 3 E 43rd St, 7th floor conference Room, 6:00pm-7:30 pm.
Attendees: Maureen Weicher, Mark Aaron Polger, Antonia DiGregorio, Terri Corbin-Hutchinson, Laurie Kaplan, Mike Handis, Caroline Fuchs, Carrie Wajda, Edward Keane, C. Kevin Crow.

Texting in the library: The group started the discussion by sharing their experiences on how students texting in the library and how it affects the general atmosphere in the library.

The group agreed that library users want instant gratification and texting provides that. Some libraries are offering reference services via text messages. Email reference (and emailing in general) is not fast enough for our users

Chat Reference: Colleagues discusses chat reference and the advent of text reference services. One library is thinking of offering Blackberry’s to librarians who can then provide “mobile” services to library users.

E-books: Group discussed the increase in e-books, e-reserves, and some rules that e-book providers (ebrary, Netlibrary) have. The Graduate Centre, for example, does not have any more room for paper books so their collection budget is centred around improving their e-book collection.

Web Sites for Hand-Held Devices: Group agreed that library web sites need to be re-examined. Library users expect one search interface for everything.  CUNY is now trialing EBSCOHost Integrated Search, a federated database search.

We need to consider developing “hand held” versions to web sites. There is not enough computers, so many libraries are now lending out laptops to their users. Group members each discussed their own library. Group concluded to remark that each library needs to tailor their library according to their users.

Google Apps for Education: One such library purchased a license to Google Apps for Education. Institution enhances the students experience by subscribing to resources with Google interfaces (Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites,Google Chat/Video)

(URL: http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu/index.html)

Millennials Article: Group discussed the article Wajda distributed on the Millennial generation. Group briefly talked about some character traits of the Millennials, people who are born after 1980. Millennials are those people who have lived most of their life in an Internet-based world.  Article link: http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1437/millennials-profile

Group also discussed the importance of reaching our users via social networking sites such as Facebook Fan Pages, Twitter pages, and MySpace pages. Wajda emphasized the importance of marketing in the UX (User Experience) literature.

Trend was to weed print journals and reference titles and add more computers or add more study space.

Embedded Librarian: At the Graduate Centre, there is a librarian sitting in on selected classes (i.e. Class Librarian).  At CSI, there was a “Traveling Librarian” pilot project for a year, in which librarians would spent a few hours per week outside the library, in a high traffic study space. Some colleges and universities embed the librarian in Blackboard courses.

Meeting adjourned at 7:30pm.  Next meeting date has not been determined but it was agreed to be held sometime in the Spring (2010).

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Next UX Discussion Group Meeting: Wednesday, 2/3

Do you wonder about the future of libraries?

If you have ever been confused about how to best meet the needs of your students while planning for the future of your library, you are not alone. How do we serve our faculty and students while keeping an eye to future innovation? Come share and discuss your ideas, visions or fears of the future of libraries at the next ACRL/NY User Experience Discussion Group Meeting.


Light refreshments will be served.

Meeting will be held at Berkeley College, 3 East 43rd St, 7th Floor Conference Room, at 6:00 pm. Please RSVP so that you can get into the building. You will need to show identification.

Posted in Discussion