Visibility in General: Your entry points into AskAway

What AskAway entry points are available?

The basic entry points into AskAway are Qwidgets, buttons, and text links. This section explains the differences between them and general principles for using them.

Qwidgets

The Qwidget is a chat widget that can be embedded into any webpage or tool. Clicking on the Qwidget and typing a question initiates a chat session instantly. Qwidgets are the preferred entry point into AskAway.

Qwidgets provide immediate, barrier-free entry into a conversation at point of need, which increases engagement. When Qwidgets were introduced in 2009, libraries that implemented them saw an average increase in usage of 221%. Qwidgets are recommended whenever possible.

Please note: the Qwidget underwent a major update in 2013, with further changes in 2014. The new Qwidget uses different HTML code, and older versions are no longer supported and may eventually stop working. Please make sure to use the latest Qwidget code.

How to title the Qwidget:

Titles should indicate what the Qwidget is for: research help. Titling it “AskAway” may not clearly indicate to patrons that they can use this chat box to get research help.

Some effective titles used by participating libraries:

  • Ask a Librarian
  • Research Help
  • Need help? AskAway!
  • AskAway: Librarian Chat

The Qwidget title can be changed in the QuestionPoint Create Qwidget module. See: How to create/update a Qwidget

How to embed the Qwidget

OCLC provides general directions on embedding the Qwidget.

Buttons

A button is an image that links into an AskAway session. Buttons should be used when the webpage’s design does not allow for a Qwidget. 

Example:

or

Buttons should meet the following criteria:

  • Large and prominent enough to stand out from other elements on the web page
  • Include some indication of the button’s purpose (e.g. “Ask a librarian”, “Research help”, etc.)
  • Button links should bring patrons directly into an AskAway session or to a page with a prominent Qwidget, within one click
  • Links open in a new window when appropriate
  • Links should not open a new window containing a web page with only the Qwidget on it, unless:
    • The page uses a javascript popup (other methods may open in new tabs and are not recommended), and
    • The Qwidget and containing page are appropriately sized

Text links

Text links are appropriate when communicating via email or on documents. While including an AskAway link in a menu can be a helpful supplement to a Qwidget or button, it should not be the only way to find AskAway on a page. Because they are not attention-grabbing or distinct from other elements, using text links exclusively is not recommended unless no other option is available.

All links should bring patrons directly into an AskAway session or a page with a prominent Qwidget. AskAway should be accessible within one click.