What do users want from Primo? #anzreg2019

What do users want from Primo? Or how to get the evidence you need to understand user behaviour in Primo.
Rachelle Orodio & Megan Lee, Monash University

Survey users about most important services. #4 is LibrarySearch letting them use it quickly; #9 is off-campus access. Feedback that LibrarySearch is “very slow and bulky”, accessing articles “takes way to many steps”, search results “hard to navigate”, “links don’t work”.

Project with strategic objectives, success factors, milestones, etc.

Started by gathering data on user behaviour – Primo usage logs, Primo/Alma analytics, Google analytics. Ingested into Splunk. Got a large dataset: http://tinyurl.com/y5k4nzr4 

How users search:

  • 90% start on basic screen, and 98% use the “All resources” scope (not collections, online articles, popular databases) – basically using the defaults.
  • Only 15% sign in during a session. 51% click on availability statement, 45% click on ViewIt links. Sometimes filter by facets, rarely sort. Don’t display reviews or use tags; don’t browse, don’t use lateral or enrichment links. Little take up of citation export, save session/query, add to eShelf, etc.
  • Most searchers are 2-4 words long. 69% less than 7 words – 14% longer than 50 words! 1.13% of searches are unsuccessful

Two rounds of user testing. Splunk analytics -> designed two views (one similar to classic, one stripped down) and ran think-aloud tests on 10 students using these views, along with pre-test and post-test surveys. Results classified into: user education, system changes, system limitations.  System changes were made and testing rerun with another group of students. Testing kits at https://tinyurl.com/y4fgwhhx


  • Searching for authoritative information – start at Google Scholar and databases, only go to Primo if hit a paywall.
  • Preferred the simplified view. Said that most useful: advanced search, favourites, citation link to styles – but this wasn’t borne out by observations
  • Liked the “Download now” (LibKey I think) feature and wanted it everywhere


  • only sign in if they need to eg to check loans, read articles. So want to educate users and enable auto-login
  • Only a few individuals use advanced search
  • don’t change the scope – renamed scopings and enabled auto-complete
  • prefer a few facets – simplified list of facets
  • don’t change sorting order – changed location and educating
  • want fewer clicks to get full text
  • not familiar with saved queries – needs education

Put new UI in beta for a couple of month, ran roadshows and blog communications. Added a Hotjar feedback widget into the new UI. Responses average at 2.3 rating out of 5 – hoping that people happy with things aren’t complaining. Can see that people are using facets, Endnote desktop and citation links; labels on item page.

Feedback themes – mostly searching, getIt and viewIt access.

Q: You want to do more user education – have you done any anything on education at point-of-need ie on Primo itself?
A: Redesigning Primo LibGuide, investigating maybe creating a chatbot. Some subject librarians are embedded in faculty so sometimes even involved in lectures.

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