Technology | June 13, 2018
Stacks customer Ryan Johnson from O’Fallon Public Library discusses his library’s experience over the last year with a new library website— from preparation, to implementation, and the site’s impact on library staff and patrons.
There’s nothing more exciting than creating better opportunities for your library. And an updated library website is one way to achieve this. But once the launch has come to pass, there can be a bit of anxiety about your new library website. We recently held a webinar with Stacks customer Ryan Johnson from O’Fallon Public Library to discuss his library’s experience after year one.
For Ryan, having a plan in place is s the first step to building a new library website with confidence. He suggests preparation meetings with staff to evaluate elements on the existing website that need enhancements. The staff should revisit the library’s overall mission to see how closely their library’s website aligns with the mission. If one part is to provide programs and events to meet the patron diversity, event listings should be an integral part of the library website, and it should be easy to use. Johnson notes, “From a staff’s point of view, not only did we want to better showcase our resources online, but we wanted to streamline event registration.”
In this digital age, having a professional, polished web presence is important. Many folks will look you up online before ever visiting the building. You want that first impressive to be a positive one. You want to wow the person browsing your site, not only with the layout, but with ease of use.
It’s no surprise that a year later, O’Fallon has some favorite website elements that help take user experience to the next level. Johnson notes that their new navigation feature, as well as their “callouts” are two of his favorite elements. “The site is much more visually attractive than it was before […] the Callouts feature is probably my favorite. It’s a great way to organize and showcase content. The images draw in the eye, then short descriptions and relevant links help convey your message, without you falling into the trap of too much text.”
Once your library website is launched, it is important to analyze qualitative and quantitative data. Get feedback from patrons so you can understand how they use the site and what elements may need to change to provide a better user experience. If you’re hiring, asking candidates their opinion of your library’s website will also provide a sense of the user’s first impression of the site. Johnson echoes this sentiment, “In this digital age, having a professional, polished web presence is important. Many folks will look you up online before ever visiting the building. You want that first impressive to be a positive one. You want to wow the person browsing your site, not only with the layout, but with ease of use.”
Conversely, quantitative data is going to provide a deeper insight into user behavior. The key to analyzing data is to find the story in the numbers and connect it to those big changes you made to better align with your mission. In the case of O’Fallon, website traffic remained flat, but when it came to events, they saw an 18.3% increase in event attendance year over year. Johnson notes, “I do believe, however, that the website played a big role as it allowed us to more easily feature our events, record registrations, and send out automatic reminders.”
Watch the webinar recording below to learn more about how the O’Fallon staff embraced the Stacks platform, the implementation and the other ways the Stacks platform helped O’Fallon to successfully launch its new library website.
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