Website Redesign Worries
Friday, August 15, 2014
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
Our website needs a redesign. That’s a scary thought. You
start to imagine countless hours and dollars disappearing as you build a
new website from scratch. So you think, A fresh coat of paint, a
new look, is all we can handle right now.
Any change takes hours and
If you’re going to put any time into changing your website, make it
worthwhile. Ask again what patrons want to do at your website–ask
yourselves and ask your patrons. And look for ways to help them
do things–find books, download music, register for programs–as
well as showing them what the library has.
Be honest about your competition
You may be very aware of what other libraries are doing, but I bet
your patrons are more aware of Target and Amazon and iTunes. Go to their
websites and get ideas from what works and doesn’t work there. You’re
making progress when you say, I want people to be able to do
this, not I want the website to look like
You aren’t starting from scratch
Don’t throw out your old site. You need it. Do an inventory and
find out what’s on your current website. You see sections for children
and teens. Should there be an adults section? Talk about it. Physical
items and download items are in different places, and maybe the tech
won’t let them be listed in one place. Could you talk about music–CDs,
MP3s, streaming–in one place? Discuss it. That’s putting pages in a new
order, editing and revising, not writing a whole new book.
Designing a website
isn’t interior decorating
A website is an instruction book. Follow these few steps and
you’ll be able to do this, and this, and this. You can read this, learn
that, take all these things home with you. Good instructions,
whether in a bad photocopy or glossy print, help people work. Focus on
what people want to accomplish, and you’re on the right track.
Ready to learn more about website usability design and testing? The
Nielsen Norman Group’s website has lots of research-backed articles to
help you dive in.
Website usability design and
At Tuesday’s Website Usability Testing Level-Up Lab, we discussed
some website usability and testing basics. One-on-one testing with a
patron, for example, can be easily done with an hour and a $25 gift
card. What you gain is documented evidence that can greatly inform your
intuitive “This is what I do, and I bet others do too” anecdotals.
Want help with usability testing, or want to learn more? Nathan’s
happy to field questions and he’s available to consult on your projects.
Call him at (513) 751–4422 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.