The launch of the new Daviess County Public Library site made news this weekend with an article in the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer. The library did extensive pre-planning and internal prototyping to determine how the site would best work for users.
Red Pixel Studios took it from there to design and develop a vibrant site that library personnel will easily be able to manage and maintain with a custom WordPress installation.
Library streamlines patrons’ Web experience with site redesign
By Megan Harris
Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013 12:00 am
The project began with index cards, said Alicia Harrington, one for every link on every page of Daviess County Public Library’s outdated website.
“Being a library, we knew going into this we would have a different use than most websites,” said Harrington, a Web services librarian. “When you come to us, you may not know what you’re looking for. We wanted to make our site as simple as walking through the door.”
DCPL launched its web redesign Wednesday after more than four years in development. To begin, Harrington asked volunteers and new staffers — anyone unfamiliar with the existing site — to sort more than 120 index cards into stacks that made sense to them.
“So as a nonlibrary person, where would you expect to find this? We developed categories,” she said. “Some people didn’t know where to put the cards at all, so I realized the descriptions didn’t make sense. We organized the site the way our customers think instead of the way we think. There’s no reason for someone to click four or five times to drill down to where they need to go.”
Jim Blanton mentioned the redesign shortly after he took the director’s post in July. Under his direction, DCPL staffers branched out, engaging with readers through social media such as Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Goodreads. They have a virtual art gallery accessible through a free mobile app on Apple and Google Play and added more adult reading incentive offers through Hot Reads for Cold Nights and similar programs. Soon, he said, they’ll be blogging.
“Advertising was really important to us,” Blanton said Thursday. “When I got here, they had already developed a great site in terms of navigation. Together we developed a new, more colorful and contemporary logo and a blogging component to the main page, so we can get our message out there in as many capacities as we can. Some people respond to our posters. Some grab our calendars. Others look on the Web. We really want to have that information repeated on as many different platforms as we can to reach as many people as possible.”
He praised Harrington for keeping it all afloat.
“She does a terrific job to keep content on there,” he said, “and we’re still tweaking. But gosh, it’s so much more streamlined. You don’t have to look through this mass of information. If books are what you want, you click ‘Books.’ ”
Megan Harris, 691-7302, [email protected]