Date of Award


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Library and Information Science

First Advisor

Shimelis G. Assefa, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Carrie L. Forbes, MLS


Library science, User experience, Chat reference, Usability, Libraries


This paper seeks to support user-centered library website design by exploring a low-effort strategy for identifying patron needs and the natural language used to describe them. The literature review cross-references library literature on chat reference with broader studies on website navigation and cognitive modeling, and briefly reviews other studies that have used chat transcript analysis as a usability tool. Word count analysis of two terms of chat reference transcripts showed several trends in patron language, particularly highlighting the benefits of usage-based navigational design. Recommendations for further usability testing are offered, as is an analysis of the method as a starting point for busy libraries.

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.