Better Usability w/ Resource Icons in LibGuides

Improve usability by creating customized LibGuides Resource Icons which link to item-specific additional resources.

Don't Make me Think, by Steve Krug

In Steve Krug’s oft-cited book on usability Don’t Make Me Think (2006), he reminds us to avoid transferring the cognitive load to users. Our job, as information specialists is to make our communication of that information as simple as possible, but no simpler, for users to access the content we are driving.

If Web pages are going to be effective, they have to work most of their magic at a glance. (p. 19)

The most usable Web sites seem to anticipate users’ needs at point-of-need, allowing at once a much simpler AND richer browsing experience. In LibGuides, we can add Resource Icons, which appear next to the following objects: Books, Links, and Documents/Files. These add value to the object by linking to item-specific additional resources.


In this tutorial, I improve the usability of a book object by adding a map marker resource icon () that links to a page with a library floor map showing where the book can be found.

Resource Icons are not assigned out-of-the box for LibGuides, and must be uploaded through the Assets page. To add an icon you will first need…wait for it…an icon. There are several great options for free icons. In this tutorial, I will be using a 32px x 32px icon I downloaded from Flaticon.

Upload the Image for the Icon

  1. To upload the icon, click Content (menu)
  2. Click Assets (sub-page)
  3. Click Icons (tab)
  4. Click Add Icon (button)
  5. In the Add/Edit Icon window, click the Select Icon (button) to upload the icon.
  6. In the Description field, type in a memorable/unique name for your icon. I chose “Map Pointer,” though “compass indicator” would also have worked, as would “Super Karate Monkey Death Car.”
  7. (Optional) If you want all instances of your resource indicator to link to the same Web page, enter the link into the URL field.  Otherwise, leave this field blank so that you may enter a URL for each instance.
  8. Click Save.

Assign the Icon

Once in your LibGuide, add a Book, Link or Document/File object to your content box. Finally, follow these instructions to add your resource icon to the object:

  1. Click + Assign Resource Icons panel to open the panel.
  2. Check the box of the icon you wish to assign.
  3. Enter the URL which you want to visit when the icon is clicked by the user.


Et voilà! In our example here, we’ve now made it easier for our patrons to find their book by linking directly to a map of the floor on which the book is located!

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