Proactive Chat

I worked with a team of librarians to improve our chat reference service by having it proactively ask students if they needed help on our library website. Our service now automatically invites students to chat if they spend more than 45 seconds on the same page.

After the change, chat traffic climbed 181% in Spring 2019 compared to Spring 2018.

I led the group through discussions of web analytics and usability research and programmed this service into the templates of our website and LibGuides. I also included an option for librarians to turn off proactive chat on their individual research guides if they believed the service would be a detriment to the use of the guide.

Instruction Technologies Librarian Andy Revelle and I presented on the project at the 2019 ALAO Conference. I shared how we evaluated both prior usability testing and our own students use of our site when choosing the timing of our pop-out invitation. Andy evaluated the transcripts of the chats and found the types of questions students were asking did not change as a result of the change — only increased the number of questions.

Scholarly Output

  • Revelle, A. A., & Yarnetsky, J. (2019, October). Do You Need Help? The Implementation of Proactive Chat and its Effect on the Quantity and Quality of Reference Interactions. [Presentation] ALAO 2019 Conference. Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center, Columbus, Ohio: Academic Libraries Association of Ohio.