It is understood that the library’s home page is prime real estate, and many services compete for attention here. AskAway should be included here if at all possible, standing out apart from other content. Students should ideally be shown where they can find help as soon as they enter the library website.
Why should AskAway be included here?
Among libraries that have AskAway access on their front pages, the front page chat box or link accounts for an average of 30% of their total AskAway traffic, reaching up to 67% for some libraries.
Another benefit of a front-page AskAway presence is that it increases the overall profile of reference assistance. By advertising the availability of an online librarian for research help, it communicates the more general fact that librarians offer such a service and may increase usage at the reference desk as well.
Which type of entry point should I use?
In order of priority:
- Chat box if possible
- Button or tab if a chat box is not possible
- Well-differentiated text link if no other option is possible
Where on the page should it go?
All avenues into AskAway should be placed above the fold (i.e. visible without scrolling), visually distinct, and separate from other text content.
Chat boxes: Near the top of page content and to the right if the website allows.
Buttons and tabs: Buttons should be near the top of any page content, below the header, and above the fold. Tabs should be in the bottom right. Both buttons and tabs should be displayed prominently, apart from other content, appear clickable (e.g. movement or color change on mouseover), and their purpose (to get help with research via chat) immediately identifiable.
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.
All links should bring patrons directly into an AskAway session or a page with a prominent chat box. AskAway should be accessible within one click.