A library isn’t just a collection of books and documents – it’s a hub of knowledge and an integral resource for local schools and communities. For that reason, a library website can’t be just another destination on the web. It has to encapsulate a great deal of information while also being easy to use.
For that reason, we make UX (user experience) an integral part of our approach to library web design. That allows us to help our clients reach and serve their most important users online.
Wondering what that looks like? Here are five keys to library UX and good library website design…
#1 A Clear Design Scheme
Web designs are often judged by virtue of their attractiveness, but aesthetics aren’t always the only (or even primary) consideration. When your mission is to share resources and knowledge with an entire community, it’s more important that design elements be clear than it is for them to be studied. You certainly want your pages to look good, but it’s even more important users understand how to use them.
#2 Detailed Navigation Menus
Even a smaller library is likely to have several different sections and resources that need to be referenced on a website. Arranging the resulting content in a way that makes it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for is crucial. If they can’t, then they will likely leave without getting the information they were looking for simply because it wasn’t easy enough to locate.
#3 Advanced Search Functions
Alongside the well-organized categories of content within your library website, it’s also a good idea to include advanced search functions. Some visitors will undoubtedly know exactly what information or resource they are searching for, so allowing them to look through your site and catalog (by keyword, for instance, or ISBN number) can save huge amounts of time. It can also reduce the burden on your staff because they won’t have to answer as many questions.
#4 Accessibility Tools for All Visitor Types
We have been preaching about the virtues of ADA compliance and online accessibility for many years. Serving those with disabilities is always a good idea, but it’s particularly crucial for libraries. You undoubtedly have some in your community who are impaired visually or in terms of their movement. Building a library website they can interact with easily is a way of sharing what you have with everyone who needs it.
#5 Regular Library Website Audits
Although website audits are traditionally thought of as falling under the umbrella of “accessibility,” they can greatly enhance library website UX. That’s because the deep crawl of your pages that reveals broken links, coding errors, slow page response times, and other issues stops visitors from running into dead ends. These sorts of checkups are small and inexpensive, but can make your library website much more effective over time.
Need a new Website for Your Library?
From small community libraries to the libraries found in larger cities, clients turn to us because we have the web design development skills they need. In fact, the Weblinx team has experience with all kinds of library web design and upgrade projects – ranging from the simple to the complex.
So, if you’re looking at making some improvements to your library website, contact us today so we can schedule a free personalized consultation!