University of Delaware's LibGuides Task Force (LTF) developed a set of standards and style guidelines to assist you, the LibGuide Editor, in the development of your guide. There are many possibilities for the look and layout of your research web pages (LibGuides are series of web pages after all!), however our investigation and the continual progress of online content has led us to the development of the conventions presented here.
Why have standards? Simply put, without a set of standards for our research guides, things get confusing, difficult to navigate, and ultimately unused or ignored by those we are trying to serve. It has been the LibGuides Task Force's intent to develop these guidelines based on comparator university usability studies, current UX & UI principles as it applies to the increase of mobile device use, and our own expertise and discussion. Below are a few categories considered when developing these guidelines.
Accessibility: Principles of Universal Design have many applications. Our goal is in line with University of Delaware Universal Design standards: "UDL refers to a set of principles for curriculum design that aims to give all individuals equal opportunities to learn." UD's Center for Teaching & Assessment of Learning.
Continuity: Our hope is that users will find a seamless experience using our guides in tandem with the Library, Museums & Press website, University of Delaware sites, & courses within the Canvas CMS environment.
Along with some instructions on how to meet our updated University of Delaware LibGuides standards, we have also developed some best practices and suggestions for you as well. Do you have to implement these suggestions? Not necessarily...But you should! ;-) These tried and true practices will ensure that your guide is in line with the other research guides at UD, and is presenting the best possible interface for our users to engage with your area of expertise!
And remember, when building your guide, consider research that reminds online content creators to be succinct and intentional about what to include. Online readers "are not likely to read your content completely or linearly. They just want to pick out the information that is most pertinent to their current needs.". (Nielsen/Norman Group, How People Read Online: The Eyetracking Evidence)
Usability studies, research materials, and other resources used by the LibGuides Task Force in the development of these standards and styles are available upon request.
Maria Barefoot & Kaitlyn Tanis