Archive for May, 2013

Which pages do your patrons use most to access AskAway?

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Where do learners ask for help? What pages are used most to connect with AskAway?

You can use the Form Fields statistics, available on the Statistics page of the Portal, to determine which pages from your institution are most often used to connect with AskAway. These include both Qwidgets and the full screen interface.

  1. Open the Form Fields spreadsheet in Excel or a similar program.
  2. Sort the spreadsheet by Institution followed by Referring URL.
  3. Scroll to your institution. When you look at the Referring URLs, there should be an alphabetical list of all the pages patrons have entered AskAway from through your institution. If you are going to further manipulate these statistics, you may want to copy and paste them on a separate spreadsheet.

As is, you can choose to see which pages are listed the most. Additionally, you can use other fields of the Form Fields (e.g., descriptive codes) combined with the referring URLs to find further information about patron use.

You can use this information to:

  1. Determine what works – if more patrons come through one page than other similar pages, is the Qwidget placed more prominently? Is the page set up differently, or does it have other differences?
  2. Determine what could be improved – are many patrons coming to AskAway through this page asking a technical question and being referred back to their home library (according to the descriptive codes)? Perhaps the instructions on the page could be clarified or simplified, if applicable.

Questions or comments? Please feel free to contact me at the admin centre.

– Reece, BC ELN

Qwidget & Full Interface Update

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Qwidget Interface

Did you know that patrons have two ways to access AskAway, and that there are some good reasons to consider which a patron is using?

This post is about the differences between full-screen and Qwidget interfaces, and how to tell which way your patron has entered AskAway.

Full-Screen Interface

Most service providers are familiar with Qwidgets. These are the IM widgets that can be embedded in webpages, databases, and elsewhere. In the past year, 78% of patrons accessed AskAway via Qwidget.

22% of patrons accessed AskAway by the full-screen interface in the past year. Some institutions provide patrons with the full-screen interface, and all patrons entering through AskAway.org use the full-screen interface.

While chatting with a patron, you can determine whether they have entered AskAway by Qwidget or through the full-screen interface. The Info tab includes the word Qwidget before the initial question for Qwidgets patrons (see image below). This is how to determine whether or not your patron is using AskAway via Qwidget.

Info tab indicates when patron is using a Qwidget

Determining whether your patron is using a Qwidget is useful for a few reasons:

  • it impacts scripts you choose to send them (e.g., which closing script)
  • it allows you to provide relevant feedback if they are having technical difficulties using AskAway (e.g. text is too small, chat box is too small)
  • the full-screen interface is vulnerable to framebusting pages – knowing this can help you warn the patron about potential framebusters

Please contact me at the Admin Centre if you have comments or questions.

– Reece, BC ELN

Framebusters Alert

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Normally when a service provider sends a link to an AskAway user, using the full-screen interface, the linked page open up automatically for the user. Framebusting pages are pages that will not open in another site (e.g. QuestionPoint)’s frame. This is relevant to AskAway patrons who use the full-screen interface, but not Qwidget users. More info on the full-screen interface and Qwidget, and how to determine which way a patron is accessing AskAway here.

When service providers send  full-screen interface AskAway patrons a framebusting link, a browser message asks if the patron wants to go to another page. If the patron agrees, they leave the chat window and may not be able return to the session. These pages include high quality, commonly-used pages such the McGill university home page, a page from the OWL Purdue citation site, and the U.S. Census bureau home page.

The complete list of known framebusting pages is on QuestionPoint’s Framebusters page. The examples listed above, and all framebusting sites known to QuestionPoint have an automatic work-around that prevents users from accidentally navigating away from AskAway, but as websites change all the time, new framebusting pages may be created, and many may not yet be known to QuestionPoint.

For future reference, you can find the Framebusters page on the QuestionPoint.org site, under “Resources” (see image on left).

Tips for Dealing with Framebusters

  • If you suspect a page is a framebuster, you can test it using the method at the top of QuestionPoint’s Framebusters page.
  • If you are helping a patron and want to send a link to a patron that is a framebuster, you can ask the patron to copy the link into a new window or tab, instead of clicking on it.
  • If you find a framebuster, please report it to support@oclc.org or to the AskAway Administrative Centre.

Comments or questions? Feel free to contact me at the Admin Centre.

- Reece, BC ELN