ACRL/NY Spring 2014 Discussion : “Writing for the Web”- June 13, 2014

On Friday June 13, 2014,  we had a lively User Experience (UX) Discussion on “Writing for the Web”.

Informal Notes from our discussion:

Much of UX focuses on web interfaces but there needs to be more discussion on the content on web sites.

Introductions from discussion participants

  • Struggling to define UX
  • So many different interpretations
  • UX= any type of interaction that you have with a person, place, or product. As librarians, we need to make our interactions usable/user friendly, memorable, desirable, emotionally positive!

Struggle with Language

Discussion of Jakob Nielsen’s Web Site (Nielsen Norman Group: Evidence Based User Experience Research, Training, and Consulting )

Writing for the Web Guideline (selected):

  • Break grammar rules
  • Avoid text heavy web pages
  • Simple language
  • Divide content into many pages
  • Create bulleted lists
  • No scrolling
  • Users read less than 50% (on web pages) than on printed publications
  • Users read in the “F” pattern
  • Jargon-free
  • Consistency matters

What Do We Call Our Discovery Service?

  • What content do we add to it? What do we leave out? What do we name it?

User Centered Design

  • We make assumptions but we really need to ask our users what they want.

Usability Testing

  • How to recruit (library instruction class, on campus, using incentives, gift cards, etc)
  • How large should our sample be
  • Analysis
  • How do we make time?
  • Staffing
  • What do we do with the data?


  • Do we include a glossary of terms to explain terms?
  • Do we simplify language?

Recommended report: John Kupersmith’s “Library Terms that users understand” report can be downloaded here
His web site:

Federated Search, Library Catalogues, and Discovery Service

Do we brand it? Literature on library jargon discourages the branding of library catalogues, federated searching, and discovery services. What do we call it?

Discussion concluded at 10:45am, Friday June 13, 2014.

Notes : Mark Aaron Polger,


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