Visibility in General: Your entry points into AskAway

What AskAway entry points are available?

The basic entry points into AskAway are embedded chat boxes, buttons and tabs, and text links. This section explains the differences between them and general principles for using them.

Embedded Chat Boxes

The chat box is a chat widget that can be embedded into any webpage or tool. Clicking on the chat box and typing a question initiates a chat session instantly. Chat boxes are the preferred entry point into AskAway.

Chat boxes provide immediate, barrier-free entry into a conversation at point of need, which increases engagement. When chat boxes (then known as Qwidgets) were introduced in 2009, libraries that implemented them saw an average increase in usage of 221%. Chat boxes are recommended whenever possible.

How to title the chat box:

Titles should indicate what the chat box is for: research help. Titling it “AskAway” may not clearly indicate to patrons that they can use this chat box to get research help.

Some effective titles used by participating libraries:

  • Ask a Librarian
  • Research Help
  • Need help? AskAway!
  • AskAway: Librarian Chat

The chat box title can be changed in the LibraryH3lp Dashboard.

How to embed the chat box

See the Chat Widgets page for information on how to access the chat widget code and how to embed in databases, content management systems, and more.

Buttons and Tabs

When clicked, a button or a tab open the chat box in a new window. Buttons or tabs should be used when the webpage’s design does not allow for a chat box. 

Buttons and tabs should meet the following criteria:

  • Large and prominent enough to stand out from other elements on the web page
  • Appear clickable (e.g. using a drop-shadow and color change on hover-over)
  • Include some indication of the button’s purpose (e.g. “Ask a librarian”, “Research help”, etc.)

Text links

Text links are appropriate when communicating via email or on documents. While including an AskAway link in a menu can be a helpful supplement to a chat box or button, it should not be the only way to find AskAway on a page. Because they are not attention-grabbing or distinct from other elements, using text links exclusively is not recommended unless no other option is available.

All links should bring patrons directly into an AskAway session or a page with a prominent chat box. AskAway should be accessible within one click.