​​The Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) has awarded the DePaul University Library a 2014 CARLI Research Subsidy Program Grant to study the Richardson Library's Wayfinding screen. The Research Subsidy Program was created to support research projects in CARLI Governing Member libraries that will benefit Illinois' academic and research libraries as well as contribute to the existing library research literature.

 The Library's Wayfinding screen is a 65" touchscreen located at the entrance of the Richardson Library in Lincoln Park, providing visitors information on library hours, classes, events and an interactive map of the building's services and resources. This screen was part of last year's renovation of the Richardson Library's first floor Information Commons and has been in operation since the summer of 2013.

The study will build on previous external research and will focus on answering two questions:

  1. What specific content do users want in the library Wayfinding Screen, what is missing and what is irrelevant?
  2. Are recent findings on mobile website usability applicable to digital signage?

Previous studies have found that mobile users do not want simplified mobile versions of websites. Instead, they want "responsive" websites that provide access to the full website, only in a mobile-friendly format. The DePaul study will analyze how these findings apply to the wayfinding medium, testing whether users' needs are so broad that a more kiosk-style experience with access to all library web content is preferred. To do so, the study will include analysis of click analytics, observations of user interactions, and questionnaires.

DePaul​​​ Library's Coordinator for Web Services, M Ryan Hess, will lead the research study, teaming up with two student research assistants from the College of Computing and Digital Media's Human-Computer Interaction Program. The collection of click analytics began in Spring 2014 with user interviews to follow in September and October. Preliminary findings are due in late Fall 2014.