The Seattle Public Library

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November 21, 2017

Redesigning the Library website

Website Redesign: Discovery Phase Survey Results

Background

The Seattle Public Library is improving its website for you. To ensure we are redesigning the site to meet your needs, we recently conducted a user survey.

The purpose of this survey was to learn more about who is currently using the site and what online resources are most helpful to them. It also gave insight into who might not be aware of Library resources. We can use this as a basis for comparison after the redesigned site is launched.

More than 8,000 people completed the survey, was open from October 11th to 25th, 2016. Participants were recruited in a number of ways, including materials at Library branches, messages to mailing lists, social media posts on Facebook and Twitter and a notice on the spl.org homepage. This was the first of many opportunities for the public to get involved in the project.

You are welcome to give feedback at any time by using the "Share Your Thoughts" feedback form.

We want to keep you informed of what we learn throughout the process. Outlined below is a summary of the survey results.

 

Library Usage

Responses to the first two questions show us that the majority of those who completed the survey are regular users of The Seattle Public Library-online, in person or both.

How often do you come into one of our locations?

About 65% of those who took the survey come in at least once a month.

chart with responses for question: How often do you come into one of our locations?

How often do you use The Seattle Public Library website (spl.org)?

Over 75% of those who took the survey use the website at least once a month. From that we can conclude that their responses represent our current website users. Further research can help us understand the needs of those not currently using the website.

chart with responses for question: How often do you use The Seattle Public Library website (spl.org)?

Why do you not use The Seattle Public Library website (spl.org) more often?

Those who responded that they use the website once a year or less were asked a third question about why they don't use it more often. Many responded "other," and we would love to know why. If you'd like to share with us reasons you don't use spl.org, please use our feedback form. We plan to conduct additional research with our patrons, including in-person interviews in some of our branches to better understand how people use (or why they don't use) our website.

chart with responses for question: Why do you not use The Seattle Public Library website (spl.org) more often?

Website Usage

The next two questions address the reasons patrons last visited spl.org, and whether they were able to find what they were looking for. In general, most were able to locate what they wanted, but there is room for improvement in making some things easier to find.

What was the main reason for your visit the last time you used spl.org?

We already know that many Library patrons interact directly with our catalog or apps in order to place holds, download e-books and other kinds of transactions. For the next question, we offered a list of tasks that can be done through spl.org.

Five reasons stand out from the rest, accounting for nearly 80% of responses, while over 12% responded "other." If you would like to tell us more about the ways you use spl.org, please use our feedback form.

Top 5 reasons for visiting spl.org:

  1. Use the Library's online resources
  2. Information about Library locations
  3. Look for book or movie suggestions
  4. Help with e-books and downloads
  5. Find Library events or classes

chart with responses for question: What was the main reason for your visit the last time you used spl.org?

Did you find what you wanted?

While most people were able to find what they were looking for on spl.org, there are a few areas that appear to be more difficult: information about using the library, library services for children, reserving a meeting room, help finding employment, help with e-books or movie suggestions, help with ebooks and downloads and using the library's online resources.

chart with responses for question: Did you find what you wanted?

User Experience

The next set of questions asked for general impressions of the site, focusing on four areas: how easy it is to find information, how easy is the information to understand, helpfulness and overall experience of using the site. The website scores very well on helpfulness and overall experience, with room for improvement on how easy information is to find and understand.

How easy is it to find information on spl.org?

While over 60% of people who took the survey say it is easy or very easy to find information on spl.org, responses to the question above indicate a few areas for improvement.

We have also received numerous comments via our feedback form that information is challenging to find:

"The home page is cluttered and visually hard to navigate. There is so much information, but it's hard to find."

"It is hard to find some things, not as intuitive as it could be. Things are often layered under many headings/sub-categories. I often stumble into things and say 'wow, I didn't know that' but then forget where I found them."

chart with responses for question: How easy is it to find information on spl.org?

Is the information on spl.org easy to understand?

Nearly 75% of those who took the survey find it easy or very easy to understand information on spl.org.

chart with responses for question: Is the information on spl.org easy to understand?

Is the information on spl.org helpful?

Over 87% of people who took the survey find the information on spl.org helpful or very helpful.

chart with responses for question: Is the information on spl.org helpful?

Overall, how would you rate your experience with spl.org?

While over 75% of people who took the survey would rate their experience as good or very good, many people have used our feedback form to request that we make the site easier to use on mobile devices.

"Please make the redesigned library website lightweight (in terms of data usage and load time over 3G) and mobile-friendly (responsive)."

"I mostly use www.spl.org on my iPhone, and the current website is not mobile friendly."

chart with responses for question: Overall, how would you rate your experience with spl.org?

Languages

In an effort to better understand the languages our patrons use, the survey contained a number of questions around language. In addition, the survey was available in seven languages: English, Amharic, Chinese, Russian, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese. Staff worked with our community partners to reach communities where English is spoken as a second language, however the survey was primarily promoted via existing English language communication channels.

Over 90% of respondents reported being very comfortable with the website's English content, with another 5% somewhat comfortable. Less than 1% reported being either not comfortable or not comfortable at all with these pages.

How comfortable are you using the English language?

More than 90% of people who took the survey are very comfortable using the English-language pages on spl.org. However, 1,050 people (13%) reported speaking a language other than English at home.

We have also received several comments on the importance of translated content:

"If improvements to the web site can make it more useable for people who have difficulties with English, I think it's worth spending some money."

"I do wonder if the website can be displayed in various languages; we do have so many people in the city from different countries."

chart with responses for question: How comfortable are you using the English-language?

How helpful was automatic translation?

When asked about the use of automated translation tools, about 80% reported finding these tools very helpful or somewhat helpful.

chart with responses for question: How helpful was the automatic translation?

Use of assistive devices

We want to understand how we can help those with vison, hearing, mental or motor impairments use the site. When asked whether they need assistive technology to access the internet, 1.2% answered yes. A further 1.2% answered do not know. We expected a low response rate in this category based on the distribution and design of the survey. Further efforts are underway to work with users of the Library Equal Access Program to better understand individual accessibility needs.

What's Next

In January 2017, our design firm (Domain 7) will begin their information architecture and design work. This work will help us determine how information will organized on the site. This survey is just one of many research tools to help guide our decisions throughout this process.

We will continue to engage with you in a series of outreach activities that will inform the website redesign. Currently, we are gathering input through comment boxes in each Library branch and on social media. We are also continuing to reach out to communities that we have not yet heard from, as well as gathering further feedback to inform this phase of the project.

Visit spl.org/websiteredesign to stay up to date with the website redesign. And please "Share Your Thoughts." We are listening.

share your thoughts