Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

Factors Affecting University Library Website Design

Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

Factors Affecting University Library Website Design

Article excerpt

Existing studies have extensively explored factors that affect users" intentions to use university library website resources (ULWR); yet little attention has been given to factors affecting university library website design. This paper investigates factors that affect university library website design and assesses the success of the university library website from both designers" and users' perspectives.

The findings show that when planning a website, university web designers consider university guidelines, review other websites, and consult with experts and other divisions within the library; however, resources and training for the design process are lacking. While website designers assess their websites as highly success)rid, user evaluations are somewhat lower. Accordingly, use is low, and users rely heavily on commercial websites. Suggestions for enhancing the usage of ULWR are provided.

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From a utilitarian perspective, a website evaluation is based on users' assessments of the website's instrumental benefits) If a website helps users complete their tasks, they are likely to use the website. Following this line of reasoning, dominant research has reported that users are most likely to use university library website resources (ULWR) when they can help with user tasks. (2) Although we know now that the utilitarian perspective should be applied to web design, not clear is the extent to which web designers consider users' needs and, likewise, the extent to which users consider ULWR to be successful in terms of meeting their needs. Also not clear are what factors other than user needs influence university library website design. This is not a trivial issue because university libraries have invested a massive number of resources into providing web services and need to justify their investments to stakeholders (such as the university) by demonstrating their ability to meet users' needs. (3) Also important is the identification of these factors because web design and website performance are closely correlated. (4) As a consequence, investigating factors that influence successful university library website design and providing managerial guidance is a timely pursuit. Later, the objectives of this paper are twofold:

1. What factors influence university library website design?

2. To what extent do website designers and users consider the university library website to be successful?

To explore these research questions, this study identifies factors influencing university library website design that have been reported in existing literature. These factors include usability testing and institutional forces. (5) Because website design studies are sparse, this study examines the success of technology utilization studies to further identify factors that are pertinent to website design in order to provide a comprehensive view of web design success factors.

A review of literature related to university library website design will be offered in the next section. The research methods, which discuss the data collection strategies and the measurements used in the current study, will be followed by the literature review. The findings of the study will later be reported and discussed after the research methods section. The paper will then conclude with an overview of the implications the findings have for academia and managers.

* Literature Review

This section offers an overview of the existing website design literature and relevant success factors. These factors include institutional forces, supervisors' technical knowledge and support, input from secondary sources, and input from users. Because the aforementioned elements are identified as independent variables, this study also adopts them as such. Following existing studies, website success factors are identified from the utilitarian perspective. (6) The dependent variables are (1) the extent to which website designers meet users' needs, (2) the extent to which users perceive ULWR to be useful, and (3) their actual usage. …

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