Awesome Library Website, Pt. 3: Lift-off!

rocket launch

Photo by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Used under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license.

Today we officially launched our new library website. The approximately 10,000 visitors to our old site are now being automatically redirected to our new site.
I fully expect that most of them will be thrilled with the updated look, clear navigation, improved searching, and richer content. I also expect that we will get a few emails from regular users who can’t find something in it’s new spot, but we should be able to handle those fairly quickly.

I have already bragged about how awesome our new site is in general, and specifically about our cool central ribbon feature.

There is so much more to brag about, I hardly know where to start — but let’s go with 2 pieces of functionality and content that grew directly out of our user feedback: hours and places to study. All of our interviews with patrons, our usability tests, and our guerilla testing indicated that patrons consistently ranked finding out when libraries are open, and where they could study (with a group, in a quiet area, with computers, near coffee, etc.) as top reasons they go to a library website.

Visitors to our new site can see today’s hours for all libraries on the homepage, this week’s hours for all libraries on the hours page, and can click on Show full calendar on any specific library page (for example, see our Biology Library page) to see hours for that library for the month.

Our Places to Study list includes awesome photos of study spaces across the libraries, and allows students to filter the list by commonly requested attributes (e.g. absolute quiet, coffee nearby, open late).

I can’t wait to start getting feedback and use statistics on the whole site, but especially these 2 features. I guess the only drawback might be that some of our previously “secret” study rooms could start to get pretty crowded.

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