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Website Migration Project


Executive Summary

The focus groups were held at 12 different times over a 3-week period. As a result, 4 of the groups consisted of one individual.  This allowed in-depth one-on-one conversations about the library website.  All sessions were held in GL 280. The 4 posters of USF, BYU, Chicago, and NCSU were pinned to the wall. 

The session consisted of the following:

  • Short demographic survey
  • Poster discussion
  • General discussion of what belongs on a library website
  • FIU Library website mark-up
  • FIU Library website discussion

There were a number of reoccurring themes throughout the focus groups.  Below are the highlights:

What students liked about FIU Libraries -

  • We received many kudos on our chat service from multiple sessions!
  • Tabs across the top
  • Off-Campus Access
  • Search Box but needs to be larger with a clearer explanation of what you are searching.
  • Like the information in footer, hours, library information, contact us, and other libraries.  “Contact us should include email address and mailing address too.”
  • Like the picture in the background.  Offsets the writing and words.  But thought the pictures needed to be updated. 
  • A few appreciated the colors but many felt they were dull and needed to be brightened.

What is noticed on current library website - When asked where their eye was drawn to when first looking at the website, the answers included (in rank order):

  1. Search box / picture
  2. Chat
  3. Off-campus access
  4. All of the links
  5. Blue bar – home, catalog, research tools “which is what they teach you how to use first.” 

What to Change - The conversations took many different directions depending on the size and members of the group.  However, there were a few central themes. A student’s succinct opinion does a good job of expressing one, “From a business point of view – the links are like products.  I would put the ones that are used more on top and take the others away and embed them.” 

Overall the groups felt that the current website was dated and although there were some really good things about it (off-campus, chat, top drop-downs, search) they felt it is time for an update.


Every group mentioned that the hours should be visible and that they loved how NCSU listed the availability of rooms, laptops, and tablets.


Every group noted the use of icons on the posters especially USF but also BYU and the few on Chicago.





Details are below.

  • Increase Search Box Size – Repeatedly it was mentioned that the search box should be bigger.  Groups referred to the posters and the larger search box on USF.  A few students thought that the tabs in the search box should be more explicitly defined again referring to the explanation on USF.  The option to limit your search to peer-reviewed articles on USF was noted.


  • Too Much Text – Use Icons - Every single focus group mentioned the overwhelming amount of text in the middle of the page.  After reviewing the posters, many students referred back to USF and repeatedly said “use icons like USF.” A few of the groups suggested that the long lists of bullets should be embedded with a drop-down menu.


  • Quick Links – Keep them with why we come to the library website.  Get rid of the stuff we don’t use.  (When asked what was needed, it included off-campus, chat, group study room reservations, hours, database links, research tools).


  • Unique @FIU – The groups felt that Unique @FIU did not belong on the library homepage.  To quote one student, “It is not relevant.”  Regarding the Unique @FIU only one of the 38 student participants thought we needed to keep the link to Special Collections & University Archives. And only one student thought we should keep the link to Electronic Theses and Dissertations.  The rest of the content was crossed off by ALL of the students. One group pointed to USF and said put Unique @FIU in a tab like USF does for Special Collections.


  • Popular Content – Students didn’t realize this was generated content.  I didn’t tell them until after the session. A few groups felt that duplicity of links was a waste of space.  Specifically, they mentioned the 2 links to the catalog, 2 links to hours, and multiple links to room reservations. 


  • Drop-Down Menu – Not one group noticed it or mentioned it.


  • News & Highlights – A few groups thought the News & Highlights on our page and the other pages was current news. When they realized it was library information, one student said, “I will NEVER EVER use that.” :-)


The groups thought our news & highlights section needed to be spiced up but not as extreme as Chicago.  “If you are going to keep the news and highlights, use images but not as many as Chicago.” They suggested using 1 or 2 images only.  They also referred to NCSU and said, use an image and date like NCSU does for its events.  “List 1 or 2 things only; no way I will go through 1 out of 194 events.”


  • Footer - Include the email address in the Contact Us section.


Hours - There was a lot of discussion about hours. Some comments below:

  • Make it similar to USF was heard multiple times.
  • Hours should be plastered on there.
  • On the banner like NCSU.
  • State them instead of making me click.
  • Not noticeable at the bottom of the page.  


  • Pictures & Icons - Regarding images, participants felt that they should be used strategically.  “Too many images takes you away from why you came to the site”.  However, there was a consensus that the page should incorporate more icons and less text. 

They felt the current pictures needed to be updated and more vibrant.  A number of students commented that the current pictures do not include people and that the library looks a lot different than the pictures on the site.

Every group also mentioned the need to use icons.  Every group noted the icons on USF and many noted the use of icons on the sides of BYU.  The one thing students liked about Chicago was the Find Spaces section which uses icons.

  • Colors - Regarding the color scheme, a few students felt that the colors were dull.  Most understood that the colors were FIU colors and a few mentioned that is one thing they liked about the website.  However, a fair number mentioned that the colors were outdated and should be brighter.


  • Remove Duplicate Information - Students felt removing the duplication of information could help clean up the page. They were referring to Popular Content (I refrained from explaining what Popular Content was until the end of the session as to not sway the conversation).

Library LingoConfusing Terminology included:

  • Unique @FIU and all of the links
    • Thought dPanther was a typo. :-)
    • Institutional Repository
  • Course Reserves
  • Find It @FIU (Citation Linker)
  • Find a Subject Liaison - most had no clue what liaison meant.

Suggestions for Find a Subject Liaison included:

  • Remove subject call it library liaison.  (Although most students didn’t know what liaison meant)
  • Specialists
  • Library Specialists
  • Library Subject Expert
  • Departmental Library Expert
  • Major Library Expert
  • Stuck?  Find a specialist/librarian in your field
  • Not sure but put in bright color need help with research ask any of our librarians that are educated/have a degree in.
  • Find your librarian 
  • Find a specific librarian
  • FIU library experts – include an explanation
  • Subject expert
  • Subject specialist
  • Ask the expert
  • Find the expert
  • Subject Master


Suggestions for Find it @FIU (Citation Linker) included: (Of the 38 students only 3 could define what it was.  One student knew what it was from using it with Google Scholar, another student figured what it was from the name, and another clearly defined it.  Most of the rest guessed it was a citation generator.)

  • What would be found in our library
  • Journal article search (When I explained that students will think they are searching for articles, they agreed that this would be confusing)
  • Find an article by citation?  
  • Want to copy and paste a citation and it looks for the article in the library for you.    By the name she figured it out.  She was happy to find it and will now use it.
  • Would change the name but not sure to what
  • Reference at FIU / definitely not find it @FIU.