Is What You See What You Get? Exploring the Role of Virtual Reference Icons on Academic Library Websites

  • Author / Creator
    King, Martina
  • The goal of this study is to better understand academic library design, selection, and use of web icons. An additional goal is to discover some of the possible consequences of icon design decisions for student users. This research is meant to help library staff better understand the factors involved in icon design and to assist library staff with icons in the future. Towards this aim, a categorical assessment of thirty academic library icons was conducted. To enable a holistic understanding of the icons, a sub-sample of nine icons was examined in interviews with eight University of Alberta students. Staff involved with the design/selection of icons at five libraries were interviewed. Findings indicate some common areas of weakness in the studied icons which negatively affect the user experience. Further, possible explanations for these design flaws are evidenced in the design process at the library institutions.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2009
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts and Master of Library and Information Studies
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.