Library Website Design

Based on the readings by Matthews (2009), McBurnie (2007) and Lazaris (2009) the following criteria have been considered important for effective library website design.

  • Keep website interesting by regularly changing content, and using icons, photos, banners, videos to break up text and make visually appealing.
  • Place fresh interesting promotional information where people will see it – central and at the top of the page.
  • Place the services or functions people want to use in readily accessible places (easy navigation).
  • Use photos to convey library features and reduce website clutter.
  • Have a search box on every page.
  • Multiple ways or paths to services or website functions to aid navigation.
  • Make mobile device friendly or compatible.
  • Segment – provide web pages for different audiences such as children.  Important aspects of website design for younger children are:-
    •  use of colour, sound & video,
    •  easy navigation,
    •  providing interaction and play,
    •  promoting education,
    • carry out useability tests by children.

This criterion has been used to evaluate the Glenelg Libraries website at http://www.glenelglibraries.vic.gov.au .  The website is visually interesting; it has used pictures, photos, icons to convey meaning breaking up the text.  Although photos drew attention to library items, none illustrated library features.  Promotional information is place in the prime spot catching attention, although some variations in display were noted using different web browsers.

The website clearly has been made mobile device friendly.  Most options had multiple ways to navigate to a function or service.  A search box is present on the home page but display problems stopped me from viewing full function and results did not appear to be displayed.

There was a “Kid’s Stuff” page but this wasn’t especially designed for children but it did provide links to educational and play activities for children and information for parents.  Improvements could be using the criteria to designing a page for children as the audience featuring the resources the library is providing just for them, separating the parent information.

Other improvements could be making common functions easier such as renew your books on the home page.  This was called “Login to your account” within the catalogue and on the home page reference was made to renewing, reserving or reviewing items but it was in the context of mobile devices.

References

Lazaris, L. (2009). Designing websites for kids: Trends and best practise. Smashing Magazine, (November 27). Retrieved from http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/11/27/designing-websites-for-kids-trends-and-best-practices/

Matthews, B. (2009). Web design matters: Ten essential tips for any library site. Library Journal, (February 15). Retrieved from http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6634712.html?industryid=47126

McBurnie, J. (2007). Your online identity:  Key to marketing and being found. FUMSI, (October). Retrieved from http://web.fumsi.com/go/article/share/2510

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