Changes to records details pages in Discovery

Recently we carried out a user research project on Discovery, our catalogue, which identified a number of issues and themes for us to explore further.

We were fortunate to get lots of feedback: in total, 1,853 people gave their views and opinions via a number of different channels:

  • user workshops
  • survey
  • web page questionnaire
  • user testing
  • one-to-one interviews
  • focus groups

We analysed the feedback from these alongside our web statistics and identified five themes for further investigation.

One of the key themes was starting points.  Over three quarters of users arrive somewhere into Discovery from a web search. More than a third of these visits start on a record description page, and some of these visitors don’t realise that their search has brought them to an entry in an archival catalogue.  We cannot assume that users start their Discovery journey at the home page and need to consider the ways that many people carry out web searches.

We want to help users make sense of where they are and what they can do next. (The work we have carried out in this instance has centred on improving the layout of the descriptions page rather than looking at catalogue descriptions).

In light of our findings we have redesigned our records details pages in Discovery.  This is the first in a number of planned activities to improve user experience.

We would welcome your feedback on the changes, and how well the results pages work for you.  Please answer the question ‘can this page be improved?’ which appears on every details page and let us know your comments.

We will be working hard to incorporate your feedback into regular updates.

Tags: catalogue, catalogue enhancement, discovery, user research