Figure 1 Brisbane Grammar Library
I have selected to look at Brisbane Grammar Library as I have visited it and met with Cathy Oxley. It is this library that first interested me in developing LibGuides for our library.
Essentially libraries when creating a website, are dealing with maintaining an excellent User Experience (UX).
Criteria for Effective Website Design
1. Excellent Homepage
This is the first port of call and is the gateway to the library’s resources. Clear branding is essential to give users a clear understanding of your online identity( McBurnie, 2007). A clean, streamlined website is essential so that the user experience is an enjoyable one and the user will come back (Schmidt & Etches, 2012, p.2)
2. Easy Navigation
Users want to be able to find what they are looking quickly and easily.
3. Current and Useful
Information found should match the needs of the patrons and be regularly updated. This means that every library site will be different as is every demographic.
4. Less is Good (Schmidt &Etches, 2012)
The “keep it simple”-principle (KIS) should be the primary goal of site design. Patrons scan on a website, they do not want to sit and read so information should be in easy to skim chunk.
5. Visually Appealing
Incorporate pictures, media and visual cues to showcase distinctive features but again use them wisely.
6. For the Users not the Library
This is important to remember. Include search boxes and mobile friendly pages (Mathews, 2009).
One size does not all. Consider developing certain pages for particular interest groups.
8. Test early, Test Often
Testing the website from a user point of view is an iterative process and should be done on regular basis.
This will show the library community that we are prepared to listen and gives a personal connection.
Figure 2 : Brisbane Grammar Library Homepage http://libguides.brisbanegrammar.com/libraryhome
How does this site way up with each criteria?
Cathy Oxley has used Libguides to create a visually pleasing website. The school logo can be seen in the top right hand side of the screen. The simple use of the word “Library” and its aim, “Connecting learners and ideas” are clearly displayed.
Boxes down both the left and right hand sides of the pages contain easy visual clues and icons which link to the library catalogue, library blogs, e-books and reviews. The middle of the page shows library news and happenings with photos incorporated giving the library a friendly persona. Students love to see photos of themselves.
Within in box is a place to write comments giving patrons and visitors every opportunity to interact and ask questions.
A number of Web 2.0 tools have been utilised. The Library is using Twitter, RSS feeds, Facebook, Pinterest and have a mobile app so that patrons may search the catalogue from a phone.
I tend to think there is too much situated on this home page and users must keep scrolling down quite some way to keep exploring, so it would be interesting to see a comparison of hits on the bottom information to that at the top of the site. The most important information is situated at the top for this reason I would assume. Although there is so much, navigation is very easy and there is a clear search button at the top.
Mathews, B. (2009). Web design matters: Ten essentials for any library site. Library Journal, (available in electronic full text from CSU library – http://www.csu.edu.au/division/library)
McBurnie, J. (2007). Your online identity: Key to marketing and being found. FUMSI, (October). Retrieved from http://web.fumsi.com/go/article/share/2510
Schmidt, A., & Etches, A. (2012). User Experience (UX) Design for Libraries. American Library Association.