Monday, May 04, 2009

Web site, Designing your library

When redesigning a library web site, libraries can make up for their lack of a real web designer by assembling a committee of librarians to tackle the job. Five or six untrained, tasteless, design-illiterate people can surely tackle the task of site architecture, user interface, and graphic design.

Ask the readers: Got a library web site that was designed by committee? Share it (and your commentary) in the comments below.

25 comments:

Piratininga, NiterĂ³i, RJ said...

just doing it right now. Started thinking what was importat to have on the landing/home page, and that was pretty much it. Trying to avoid librarian lexicon. Using woprdpress as CMS, unable to integrate with the OPAC, so we are only creating a link to the catalog. Hosting on a small local server. Trying to making online presence most visible and useful as possible: twitter, facebook, orkut (big here in Brazil), gtalk.

Anonymous said...

Content of committee's final report: Over the last 10 months, we reviewed and tested all the designs for the web site that were offered. Since they didn't look like our current web site, we decided that they would confuse our users, so we voted to retain our 'tried and true' web site design. We will disband the committee after our next meeting, in which we want to constitute a committee to come up with training handouts we can give patrons to show them all the hidden gems on our web site and how to use them. Thank you very much.

E.B. said...

@Piratininga: True that you probably cannot make your OPAC look like your WordPress site, but as an alternative, you could always make your WordPress look like the OPAC! All you have to do is replicate the hideous header design found in most OPACS and voila! Integration in giant air quotes!

Anonymous said...

http://libweb.uoregon.edu/faculty/

Haven't yet met a person who can navigate this.

Anonymous said...

We are redesigning the website also. We are going to have graphics of...drum roll...books. Scroll over the books and they will pop up with links. Who wuda thunk it!

Anonymous said...

Apparently, our Intranet and library's front page are being moved to Drupal and redesigned in the process. No clue how that's all going, since library staff aren't included in the process. This promises to be interesting!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 1:15 p.m. ... do you work at my library? I think our website re-design is being run by non-librarians, too.

Rajarshi Chakraborty said...

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Chellie said...

I'm the Web Librarian, but I worked with a committee to redesign the library's website. Obviously everyone had different skill levels in web usage and building. We did a lot of reading on the current trends in library web design, conducted a usability study on the old and newly revamped websites, and should be going live with the new design this summer. I think everyone's opinions from different areas of the library really helped. I tend to see things just from a super techie point of view and forget the lowest common denominator.

Anonymous said...

Our library website was librarian-designed. It is so bad that a student in a user study remarked that it "looked like it was designed by someone in her basic HTML class." Bad enough that our dept. (archives)got permission to hire real web designers to create our portion of the website.

Anonymous said...

I am a web designer who has 13 years experience of working with extremely high profile blue chip companies on all manner of portals, management systems, databases, and interactive interface design.

I took a job in an academic library, foolishly thinking that the skills and knowledge I had previously acquired would be useful.

I now spend my time making text bold. Sometimes I make it red. On particularly interesting days I make text bold AND red.

I recently explained to several members of Library management that I could take existing Library data and combine it with existing campus data to provide a service that would integrate personalised Library services at the top level of the institution making the Library infinitely more accessible to all members of staff and all students.

My holy grail of Library integration was missing two vital factors - boldness and redness.

The frustration has led me to think that the only alternative is to mash my brain to pieces with a self issue machine.

It would be a bold move, and would certainly involve redness...

Anonymous said...

I showed this post in our meeting about the library redesign. And they proceeded to continue to talk about why the design was bad. Because people won't know they can find "document services" under the Get Articles tab. Oh fer feck sake!

Anonymous said...

Our library has been working on a redesign for years, with a committee and a real-life web designer. Yes that "years" is totally plural.

website design,web design said...

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Anonymous said...

Check out http://www.uakron.edu/libraries/bierce_scitech/research_tools/

Layers of abstraction between the users and resources now! Note that we're not searching for information at this point, but rather what tools to use to get the information. "Tags" supplied by subject librarians, when they actually choose to create tags.

Offshore Outsourcing said...

Thanks for sharing this info post.

Alice said...

It's not a library, but it was designed by committee:
http://ringling.org/

jacks said...

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Adam said...

Interesting Job!
Web Design

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David said...

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Lisa said...

First of all, I love your commentary! It's very humorous and relatable as a fellow library worker. I know exactly what you mean about the web sites. Why do many libraries have such boring, lame web sites? Many people already want to yawn when you mention the word "library."

The Scrivener Collider said...

This. And the reference librarians stare at each other and wonder why the kids don't use the library's databases. Do you think a 14 year old will look at this and even know these ARE databases?

Anonymous said...

Ahh. Old post, same problem still going on though. I've worked in libraries for years and have a great handle on public service, having worked both general reference and also special collections. I have a very clear idea of how people use libraries and interact with library websites. I am also a web designer with several years' of experience and education. I was hired two years ago to work specifically as a web designer at a large university library. My job description was to upgrade the web site to a new look.

Same story as the other web designer on here. Bold this, underline this. Or better yet - the buttons. Everybody wants a dozen buttons everywhere to make things "more visible". Any small change in text or improvement has to go through committee after committee. Our site has suffered significantly for it. I am basically spinning my wheels because 20 librarians have to approve and agree on every change possible. Guess how the web site looks and functions? The same as it did when I was hired. Sigh.