Author Archives: wood19

University Library Web Update | October 2017

New Special Collections & University Archives Page

Check out the new landing page for Special Collections & University Archives! It features a new splash image, display of hours for each location, news related to the department and collections, and its own menu.

Moving Library Websites to HTTPS

In mid-October, the Google Chrome browser will display a “not secure” warning for sites that do not use HTTPS (“Hypertext Transport Protocol Secure). The warning will encourage users not to enter any sensitive information on the site, such as passwords or credit cards.

Library Systems is working to move our sites over to HTTPS, but you will most likely see warnings on some library and UIC websites when you use a form (including search forms, like the library home page.

Library Search will display a 'not secure' warning in the browser until the website is updated to HTTPS.

Some databases and catalogs with the ability to create accounts – such as I-Share and the UIC Library Catalog – are already using HTTPS and will not display a warning.

Most likely, few patrons will notice the change. However, if you do get any questions, you can direct them to

More information and examples of HTTPS warnings

2016-2017 Annual Report for UIC Library Websites

If you’d like to know more about usage of our main library website, digital exhibits, and LibGuides, see the Web Report for AY2016-2017. If you have any questions about the data you’re seeing, contact



University Library Web Update | September 2017

New Web Development & Feature Release Schedule

Beginning this semester, the web development team will update the website on a monthly basis, on the first Wednesday of each month. Previously, new releases went up every two weeks. We hope that the new schedule will allow more time for testing and feedback. Here’s what’s planned for this semester:

  • October: Bug fixes and improvements to some smaller issues, including:
    • adding proxied URLs for database results in the Library Search
    • using Browzine to power journals search results in the Library Search
  • November: System updates (no new features)
  • December: Update to improve how our hours display

Preview upcoming changes on the staging site.

Upcoming Projects

The Discovery Services Advisory Group has been working on a new “Advanced Search” prototype that we will begin testing this semester with faculty and graduate students.

The “bento” style search currently on the home page was designed to address the needs of users looking for a quick, Google-like search; the Advanced Search feature would address the other end of the spectrum, providing lots of options to initially filter a search for users looking for specific formats and known resources.

More information to come!

LibGuides Workshops

Thank you to everyone who attended, and for your feedback on future workshops! A total of 12 people responded to the survey of LibGuides authors. Popular topics for future workshops included:

  • Best practices for instructional design (8 votes)
  • Using analytics and data to make decisions (6 votes)
  • Using images in your guides (6 votes)

Suggestions for future workshops included:

  • Examples of LibGuides that use best practices (either UIC or other institutions)
  • Review of how to perform specific editing tasks, including resizing images

In addition, some respondents noted that early summer would be a better time for a LibGuides workshop.




University Library Web Update | August 2017

LibGuides Workshop & Cleanup Sessions

The LibGuides Admins group invites you to participate in one of two LibGuides workshops (both include the same content).

  • Tuesday, August 15, 10:30 a.m. – noon, IDEA Commons Teaching Classroom
  • Wednesday, August 16, 1:30 – 3 p.m., LHS-Chicago Room 123 & Online (via Adobe Connect)

The session is 1.5 hours, and most of this will be hands on time for you to review your guides and get them ready for the Fall semester.

Members of the LibGuides admins team will be on hand for questions and demonstrations.

A brief session at the beginning will cover a review checklist, best practices, and tips for checking statistics, using the new databases by subject feature, and more.

New features for the Library Directory

The new People section of the website includes pages for subject librarians, faculty and staff, as well as filters for:

  • Liaison subject areas
  • Liaison colleges and departments*
  • Office locations
  • Library department

Take a look at your information. If you would like to request any changes, please email

*Note: There is a known bug in the Colleges filter, which will be resolved in the next update in September. Some departments aren’t displaying under their colleges.

Web Content Review

The Web Content Team is finishing up an extensive web content review, and you may notice changes across our website. Updates will be completed by Wednesday, August 9th.

If there are pages you use in instruction or in online tutorials, please revisit those pages.

Notable changes include:

  • Retiring several web pages around citation styles and scholarly communications, and linking out to the LibGuides on those subjects instead;
  • Retiring several pages with very low use;
  • Retiring and editing Special Collections help pages;
  • Formatting changes to the interlibrary loan page.

If you have any questions or requests, contact

University Library Web Update | July 2017

Journals search interface improvements

Tuesday, 7/11

Take a look at the new journals and e-journals search after it is live on Tuesday, July 11th (also linked from the home page search box). It will feature a cleaner interface, and a responsive design that works better on tablets and phones. Just note, the new interface will not be available before Tuesday July 11th.

The search functionality isn’t changing, with one exception: e-books will no longer appear in the journals search. This change is based on feedback that the Discovery Services Advisory Group (DSAG) received from faculty.

We are trying out the new interface for a trial period before classes begin in the fall. Please send any feedback you have to You can read more about the new interface in the documentation for the E-Journals Portal 2.0.

Directory enhancements

July and August 2017

The Library staff directory will feature new filters to locate liaisons and Library faculty, improved search, and a new departments listing page. The first round of enhancements will go live on Wednesday, July 12 and additional features will go live in early August.

New subject categories for Subject and Course Guides and databases


Subject and Course Guides and the Databases list feature new subject browse categories, selected based on extensive research and interviews from Kavita Mundle. Now students, faculty and researchers will be better able to find the right databases to search.” Please check them out and share with patrons.

Website Redesign Update #12

Usability testing report

Thank you to everyone who participated in this round of usability testing. Based on the results, the implementation team has already made some changes to the beta site, including:

  • Adding resource links on the home page search box
  • Combining and updating content on several help articles and pages
  • Updating button hover styles
  • Disabling dropdown menus

Read the full beta site usability test report.

The new site will launch August 9th. You’ll get more information soon about what to expect and how to prepare.

Accessibility report

Our new library website will release with zero accessibility violations! Pixo has provided a report detailing our compliance with accessibility standards, which also includes helpful information about writing accessible web content and checking your work. If you create LibGuides, blog posts, or any other web content, this is definitely worth a read.

Read the full accessibility report.

Website Redesign Update #11: Home Stretch!

Usability testing

Usability testing is complete! We tested with 10 graduates, 6 undergraduates and
4 faculty from all five of our locations. I’m processing the notes and findings with the Redesign Implementation Team, the Web Advisory Group, and members of the Web Content Team. We’ll be making several changes to the beta site based on the usability testing and feedback from library faculty and staff. Some of these changes will be implemented in time for the launch, and others will happen throughout the Fall semester.

A full report and outline of changes will be coming soon.

Beta site feedback

Some of you have already given feedback about the beta site–thank you! If you have anything you’d like to share, keep in mind the date for full consideration is July 25th. After that, we’ll be getting ready for the launch, though feedback you provide at any time will be considered for future launches and changes.

Visit the beta site. Email any feedback to As you review the site, it may help to revisit the priorities that we set for this project (from the Redesign Strategy):

  1. Migrate to a modern, more flexible content management system (CMS) and infrastructure.
  2. Implement a streamlined information architecture, navigation system, and homepage that prioritize student success.
  3. Redesign site content to be more useful, usable, and accessible to end users.
  4. Establish an accessible, user-friendly visual design that meets the new University branding guidelines; clearly conveys the Library’s brand and key message as defined by the Communications Plan; and provides a framework for the visual design of other web properties.

What’s next?

The site launch is coming up fast. The new site will go up and the old site will come down the week of August 8th. I’m happy to come to any department meetings to talk about the site or walk through strategies for building instructional materials around the new site. Just send an email to

Visit the beta site

The beta version of our new website is live! Take a look.

What is a beta site? It is a site that is mostly complete, but still may have some bugs or room for improvements. That’s where you come in! Take a look and send any feedback you have to Please don’t be offended if you don’t get a response right away – I’m planning to collect responses and updates and post them here, on the ULIB blog. Please send any feedback by July 25th for full consideration.

Important dates coming up

July 5th-15th: Usability testing

Starting July 5th, the Web Advisory Group, plus additional help from Kate Flynn, Janet McMahon, Jenny Taylor, Karen Luna, and Rosie Hanneke, will conduct usability testing with students and faculty at all of our locations.

July 25th: Last day to share feedback

This gives the developers and content authors time to incorporate any changes we need to make.

August 8th-12th: New site launches, old site comes down

This week we will launch the new site, and make updates to display styles in LibGuides and Serials Solutions. We’ll also officially migrate to LibChat with the launch of the new site. When the new site goes up, the old site will no longer be available, except through the Internet Archive.

Important information for liaisons and instructors

If you need to update screenshots and instructions about using the library website in your instructional materials, you can go ahead and start doing that now using the beta site.

A few tips for screenshots and instructions for using a responsive site, which looks different at different screen sizes:

  • Avoid taking a screenshot of a whole page–it might not be very useful to someone using a small laptop or tablet.
  • Focus on screenshots of individual elements, like a search box or a button.
  • Avoid text that refers to a place on the desktop screen, like “use the menu on the left,” since it might not be on the left on a phone or tablet–instead, you could say “use the menu to go to ‘directory’.”


Thanks to everyone who has worked on usability testing, writing content, and providing feedback!

Website Redesign Update #10

Help us plan a usability test!

The Web Advisory Group and additional Library faculty and staff will conduct usability testing on our beta site in July 2016. This will help us to identify any final changes we need to make before the site launches in August 2016.

We need your help identifying tasks students and/or faculty and staff at should be able to do on the site! Think about:

  • What are the most common questions you get on the service desks? Over email? Or chat?
  • What do people tell you they can’t find? Or that they aren’t sure how to do?
  • What are some stressful situations for our students, faculty and staff that you’ve helped with?

Enter in your suggested tasks or scenarios into the Task Brainstorming Spreadsheet by Monday, June 6th. You’ll also see some example tasks in the spreadsheet that can help get you started.

Email if you have any questions.



Website Redesign Update #9

Home page search design

The Discovery Systems Advisory Group (formerly the Summon Working Group) conducted usability testing with students with the wireframes, focusing especially on the home page search.

Based on the results, the group finalized the design that will appear on our beta site, which will be available for faculty, staff, and student input this summer.

Read the full wireframes usability report

View the wireframes

Web content

The Web Content Team has completed the initial drafts for all of the content for the site. We’ve asked the Steering Committee members to collect feedback from their departments.

The team is using a tool called Gather Content to draft content, which will be imported into WordPress in May. You will need to log in to Gather Content to view the drafts.

View the instructions to log in and view content

Also, I want to recognize everyone all of the library faculty and staff who lent their advice and expertise. If you see these people, thank them for their contributions!

Web Content Team

  • Alejandro Castro
  • Sandy De Groote
  • Isabel Gonzalez-Smith
  • Rosie Hanneke
  • Dan Harper
  • Amber Hoppenworth
  • Linda Naru
  • Tara Wood

Content consultants


  • Jen Bordy
  • Paula Dempsey
  • Peggy Glowacki
  • Val Harris
  • Glenda Insua
  • Becky Lowery
  • Scott Pitol
  • Tracy Seneca
  • Sonia Yaco


  • Jamie Dwyer
  • Jay Jurek
  • Kevin O’Brien


  • Karen Luna


  • Janet McMahon
  • Leslie Wedel


  • Ryan Rafferty
  • Jenny Taylor


Website Redesign Update #8

Thanks to everyone who gave feedback on both the mockups and the wireframes! We’ve incorporated your feedback, and development has started on the front-end display of the site.

A few frequently asked questions came up. Those of you who left your email address and requested a response should have received an email. If you didn’t leave an email however, I wanted to make sure your questions are still addressed. Here are the answers to some of those questions.

Mockups FAQ

What is with the Latin/Spanish?

Mockups (which show the visual design of a site) and wireframes (which show the layout and organization of the site) often use placeholder text, called lorem ipsum. It allows designers to focus on colors, fonts, and other display elements without having to also generate a ton of content.

Where is the Services page?

In our usability testing, the existing Services section of our site was problematic:

  • We have a lot of services, making them difficult to navigate to in a traditional hierarchical menu.
  • The differences between “Services” and “Collections” in the primary navigation was not always clear.

Instead, we’re using the Help knowledge base – a collection of over 100 articles, tagged by location and topic, that will connect users to information on how to use our services, resources, and collections. Help articles pertinent to particular locations or collections will also appear on the pages for those collections or locations.

What are Top Tasks? How are they selected?

These are the sections of the site where our Help knowledge base content appears. “Top Tasks” may be relabeled based on usability testing. They’ll be selected manually for each page to ensure they’re consistent throughout a semester – there were some concerns students might be confused if the Top Tasks change throughout the semester based on usage.

Can Top Tasks be customized to a particular library/page?

Yes! The highlighted Top Tasks that appear on pages are Help Articles that will be manually curated. Individual locations can choose which articles to highlight based on your location. There are also tags for each location, so you can link to all of the articles for a particular location as well. “My Accounts” will display articles related to setting up your library accounts. Collections pages (Articles, Databases, Special Collections, etc.) will display help about using those collections.

Is there an About page?

Yes, there is a whole About section! Our About page is being written by Linda Naru, and it will feature information about our mission, vision, usage, and possibly some information about our departments (in a later phase, we plan to implement a more robust directory with pages for departments). You just saw a small sample of our pages in the mockups.

Where are the “quick links” to …. Databases A-Z? Research Guides? PubMed? Another Resource?

A key finding in our usability studies was that “quick links” (such as those that appear on the current site in the home page search box) are very confusing for students. They don’t always know what they mean, and many of our resources – including databases, journals, and research guides – need to be presented with some context. It seems like “fewer clicks” equals “saving user effort,” but that’s not necessarily the case. Our goal should be to help our users make confident decisions through elegant handoffs to the different areas of our web presence – saving them the experience of clicking around, feeling frustrated or disoriented, and giving up.

Can the search box…Have different labels? Search a different tool?

The search box on the mockups is not final. The Discovery Systems Working Group will complete usability testing and finalize the design based on the results of that testing. Keep an eye out for that in April.

Do we need an alert? What will go in the alerts?

We actually have an alert set up for our current site. These will be managed by Linda Naru, and alerts will be posted in the event of library closings, down time for essential online services, or any other emergency matters. Most of the time, the alert will not appear on the site.

Where is the chat widget (Ask-A-Librarian)?

Don’t worry! The chat widget will appear on every page. Our designer is still working on the designs for that.

Will the search box appear throughout the site?

A site search will appear throughout the site (the magnifying glass in the upper right). The home page search box will just appear on the home page; the Help search will just appear on the help pages.

Why isn’t_________ resource on My Accounts? Contact Us? Collections?

The mockups use placeholder text, so you’re not seeing the efforts that have gone into the content and descriptions for the tools, resources, and information featured on these pages. You’ll have a chance to provide feedback on content soon.

Will we have dropdown menus?

We won’t have drop down menus. One of the big issues in our usability testing was throwing out labels without context – i.e. students see “journals” or “databases” and they don’t know what that means – and a dropdown menu by nature just shows labels.


Thanks again for your feedback, and more updates coming soon!