CIL Notes: New Tools for Metrics and Measures

Staff members are probably your website’s biggest users.

–Edward Iglesias

I remain convinced that there are more useful ways of examining our data. We collect large numbers of stats – both those required for state reporting and those for our own internal measures – but each individual statistic seems to exist as an island unto itself. I’ve been wondering if there’s a new way to combine this data in a way that might prove more fruitful, and subsequently use it for further improvement. It’s not like I’m a Bill James or a Nate Silver, so learning to crunch these numbers is always an uphill battle. But I think it – along with some of the usability studies explored in this presentation – could help us out quite a bit.

We tried to do some heatmapping/click analysis last year, and had to abandon the project because we couldn’t find software that worked with our website. Most heatmapping sites use an imagemap-type overlay, plotting heavy clicks based on their position on the grid. Our site’s main navigation bar uses a lot of collapsing menus,which makes these locations anything but fixed. Without that kind of context, useful data may not be obtainable using this method.

Luckly, there are alternate measures, as pointed out by this session’s presenters. Debbie Herman and Edward Iglesias, of Central Connecticut State University; and Alka Bhatnagar of the New Jersey State Library highlighted a number of potential tools. Google Analytics got a lot of deserved props, and I’m realizing that I’m only scratching the surface of how it can be used. But it also looks like we can do some one-on-one studies, perhaps by rigging up some simple eye-tracking setups. The software – Silverback for Mac, mainly – looks like it’ll come in handy. And at $50, it’s cheap cheap.

But for this stuff to work, we’ll need to come up with the right questions. What on our website is intuitive to us as librarians that might be causing the public to pull their hair out.

Notes: You know where to find them.

New Tools for Metrics and Measures: Assessing Usability on a Budget

Debbie Herman and Edward Iglesias, Central CT State University

Alka Bhatnagar, New Jersey State Library

EI: Usability as a recurring theme through all sessions

LITA publication on usability a bit old

“If we don’t learn it here, we’re on our own.”

Not to be confused with UX – UX represents the perception left after the interaction. This is based on a series of transactions with people, space, services, materials.

Usability is focused on how things work.



Heat Maps

(See chart in printed slides)

Eye-tracking has come a long way. Possible to build soemthing for about $300 (safety glasses w/cameras attached – one pointed at the eyes, one pointed out)- only problem is you have to write your own software.

OpenEyes software – can work with webcam

Technique creates a heatmap of what gets looked at most

Clicktracking – using mouse to determine

Third-party programs – giving them a lot of data

Other bits of software:

Can use screencasting software to caputre sessions

Using Silverback – school implemented MetaLib and used this to start testing

Very little documentation, but is very intuitive

Coming up with set behaviors to test for is key – what is intuitive to us, that may not be to our users?

Analytics – Google Analytics

Applying filters (filter out internal IPs)

Observations:: Find articles pages are heavily trafficked, while other pages are underused

Subject guides get little use. More point of need placement is necessary (sound familiar?)

Second tier index pages aren’t used

Stats on users: few use 800×600 resolution or worse

AB: New Tools for Metrics & Measures

Maximize value, OBE, ROI, findability

evaluate engagement – key 2.0 metric

Tools: Google, WebTrends

websites used in case study:,

test-and-learn process

Use referring sites to identify collaboration partners

Benchmarking features – compare to similar sites

Q: which do you prefer, WebTrends or Google Analytics

A: Google. More features, easier to manipulate data

exploring the intersection of libraries, technology, and community

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