Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Overhauling the Library Web Site

I'm in the begining stages of overhauling our library's web site. My reason for doing so is twofold:
  1. We're slowly making the transition from a "library" to a "learning commons." I need the new site to reflect the new name, and our slightly different mission.
  2. My current site, although visually appealing, lacks opportunities for student to interact. The new site MUST be interactive. Have I figured out how I'm going to do this yet? NOPE! But we're working on it. My current site is also difficult to keep updated. There's no easy place to post news items or links that is "obvious."
Here's a screenshot of the old site. Click here to check it out in person. (Ignore the nagivation on the left hand side of the screen -- that's part of the NEW site and doesn't really exist under the current site).

And here's a picture of the new site. Click here to check it out in person (though there's not much else to see right now). It's definetly a WORK IN PROGRESS so don't hate on it too much.

One of the biggest changes I've made is to move away from image map navigation, and instead use a fixed menu on the left hand side of the screen. Image maps aren't very accessible, and it sure does make it a pain in the butt to edit the content. Also, we've added a few sections:  the "News Flash" area on the new site allows me to post announcements and event information, "The Spotlight" will allow me to feature student multimedia projects (photos, videos, etc.) on the front page (super important to me), and the "Hot Links" gives me a place to post survey links and timely, project specific sources.

The new site will also provide opportunities for two-way interaction with students. For example, there's a dedicated tab on the left called "Interact." How am I going to use this? Not quite sure yet. I'm thinking embedding a Wall Wisher, but still open to other options. Also, within many of the different tabs I'll include interactive elements. For example, in "Books" our new Mandarin catalog will allow students to rate and review books.

As I look at the new site this morning, I'm noticing some things I'm not yet happy with:
  • Man, that's a lot of yellow. Maybe too much?
  • The background doesn't really look like a honeycomb, does it?
  • The new site, while simpler, looks a little less sophisticated
  • Although it's the correct size for my monitors at home, you have to scroll to the right to view the whole page here at school. That's annoying. It needs downsizing.
  • I still need to add my social media icons for Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, etc.
  • I still need to create an "Ask Us a Question" feature on the main page
  • Only the main page is done -- everything else needs moving/creating
It's been a challenge to design a new site because I'm really limited in what I can do because of the hosting program used by my school district. I'm pretty much restricted to static HTML and don't have a lot of opportunities to change screen layout - leaving me with limited real estate to work in.

If you're overhauling your site, or thinking about a redesign, here are some helpful articles I've consulted:
What must haves / design changes are you thinking about for next fall?

1 comment:

  1. Wow! It is a huge change but I already love it!