All avenues into AskAway should be placed above the fold (i.e. visible without scrolling), visibly distinct and separate from other text content.
Chat boxes: In a sidebar if the website allows, generally to the right, and near the top of page content.
Buttons and tabs: Buttons should appear near the top of any page content, below the header, and above the fold. Tabs should appear in the bottom right corner or right side of the page. Buttons and tabs should be displayed prominently, apart from other content and immediately identifiable. Buttons and tabs should bring patrons directly into an AskAway session or a page with a prominent chat box. AskAway should be accessible within one click.
Text links: If the website structure and branding rules prohibit the use of a chat box or button/tab, links to AskAway should be placed in a logical location for patrons looking for research help. As with buttons, text links should bring patrons directly into an AskAway session or a page with a prominent chat box.
Note that text links may be easily missed, and should be used only when no other options are available.
Eye-tracking studies on web reading reveal a typical F-shaped pattern to how people view content online. These studies show that even researchers focus mainly on the top portion of the page. Scrolling down is rare, and menus are often ignored – particularly those on the right side. If they are to be noticed, AskAway entry points need to be placed within this typical scanning range, near the top of the page.
These guidelines recommend that AskAway always be displayed prominently and visually distinct from other services or links. This is to facilitate discovery. Services that are not well known, to which you want to direct people, should be in prominent places. Services that are well known can be moved further down.
“Above the fold” is the part of a webpage that is visible without scrolling. The exact location of the fold depends on the size of a reader’s screen. 77% of website visitors do not scroll down when reading a web page.
If AskAway entry points are below the fold, they are all but invisible to the majority of patrons.