UX Success: Medieval Studies LibGuide

As part of a new feature, I’d like to highlight Library staff UX successes as examples of user experience best practices we can emulate.

A recent example was announced last week with the availability of a new Medieval Studies LibGuide, which was modeled after the very popular Thomas Jefferson guide.

Here’s what works about this guide:

  • It’s highly curated (brief). Brevity serves the purpose of these guides by providing a shortcut to just the best resources on the topic, without dumping users into yet another list of resources they have to navigate. A key UX principle, particularly true of college students, is that if something looks hard, users will avoid it (see Myth 1). This guide appears easily manageable, increasing the likelihood users will take the time to explore it.
  • The sub-pages include extremely brief but useful annotations. Users are notoriously stingy about clicking on links unless they are confident that the click will be worth their efforts. These annotations explain the unique content users can find with each resource, but they are short and not necessarily complete sentences. It’s important to economize words, as users “typically see about 2 words for most list items; they’ll see a little more if the lead words are short, and only the first word if they’re long.”

Medieval Studies and Thomas Jefferson are topics that could merit an enormous number of resources. It takes great restraint to only focus on the most essential materials in the interest of users and increasing the chances of connecting them with what they seek.

If you’re wondering about how you could streamline your own guides, please contact me or stop by the drop-in User Experience Clinic on 3/20, Room 321 Clemons, between 1-3pm. We can review the web analytics for your page(s) to see what users are/are not clicking on and brainstorm possible revisions.

2 thoughts on “UX Success: Medieval Studies LibGuide

    • Thanks, Jennifer! The links to the guides and other sites referenced in the post are in there, but they blend in with the text. I’ll see about perhaps getting the template changed so they stand out more.

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