Workshops in REPORTER + Tiny Café

In March 2019, we conducted usability testing to learn more about our users’ experiences in navigating through the workshop registration process and attending workshops.


We asked participants about their experiences with registering and attending workshops in the Libraries. Typically, when patrons locate a workshop they’d like to attend on the Libraries website and select the “Register for this workshop” button on the workshop’s page (figure 1), they are forwarded to NC State University’s official registration platform, REPORTER (figure 2), where they can complete the registration process. In this iteration of Tiny Café, we observed user journeys and reactions to the multiple interfaces involved in the workshop registration process. Usability testing was conducted on March 1, 2019 in both Hill and Hunt Libraries.


Libraries workshop listing


REPORTER page, institutional registration platform


Questions we asked and what we found out

How do library patrons go about locating and registering for a specific workshop via the Libraries website?

  • Locating workshops: We asked patrons to sign up for one of our “D.H. Hill Makerspace Orientation” workshops. 25 of the 31 participants were new to the Libraries workshop registration process. The methods for locating this particular workshop were variable, with 12 of 31 participants searching for the workshop via a Google search. Other users relied on the Libraries website navigation menus, the workshops calendar, or a link to the Makerspace on the homepage to begin their workshop searches.


  • Registering for workshops: 20 of the 31 participants successfully registered for the "D.H. Hill Makerspace Orientation" workshop. Faculty, staff, and non-degree seeking patrons had the highest success rate (80%), followed by undergraduate students (69%) and graduate students (50%). We noticed that several of the participants that did not successfully register for the specific D.H. Hill Makerspace Orientation workshop listed in the task ended up successfully registering for other workshops listed on the Makerspace page on our website. 

How do library patrons react to the change in registration interfaces and the workshop registration process overall?

When asked to rate their experiences of registering for the workshop on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being difficult and 10 being easy), the registration task averaged a rating of 8 out of 10. Most participants found the registration process rather easy and were not confused by the change from the Libraries website interface to that of the REPORTER platform. Some participants did note some initial difficulty in locating the “Register for this workshop” button at the bottom of the workshops page, expecting it to appear with the “Add to Calendar” button at the top of the page.


Recommendations and Changes

  • Consider relocating the “Register for this workshop” button higher on each workshop page on the Libraries website for faster recognition

  • Explore new location-specific workshop naming conventions that lead with workshop topic followed by the workshop location to make workshop titles easier to scan on the website

How We Did It

In March 2019, we held Tiny Café sessions at Hill and Hunt Libraries and conducted brief usability tests and interviews with 31 participants. One staff member recruited patrons as they passed by and facilitated the session, while a second recorded notes and asked occasional questions. We asked participants to register for a Makerspace Orientation workshop at the Libraries and observed their reactions and experience with the workshop registration process.