Comments Off on 4%

We placed an search widget on our library’s home page once Primo went “live”–pretty standard fare for libraries that implement a discovery product.   Our search widget looks like this:

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You’ll notice we’ve put a lot of explanatory text (which, of course, no one reads) and a number of options.  That little “locally-held collections” box was added so a user could limit search results to just our Voyager catalog and our DSpace and LUNA systems–reducing the noise that enters a result set when you include in the Primo Central Index content.

Thanks to some logging this widget performs, we know that since January 8, 2013, it has been used to launch 104,186 searches.  For 4,180 of them, the “Limit to locally-held collections” box was also checked.

Which means our usage stats show that our little “limit” checkbox gets ignored 96% of the time.   Should be easy to make the case that we should just remove it, but still…

  • it is used in 4% of searches
  • it likely performs a useful function for the 4% that select it
  • it imposes no real penalty if you choose to ignore it

I understand why some lean toward a search box that offers no options and very little explanation–just enter something and see what you get.   I also appreciate the fact that you can offer a user so many choices and options that all you’ve really done is increase the odds that they’ll choose the wrong thing.

What I haven’t quite figured out is when is it right to toss a useful feature that you know only a small percentage of people use.