Web Page Review

Visiting the assigned library web sites gave me a good overview of the different styles, techniques and philosophies of not only web site design, but how these schools used the overall design of the library website to further the mission and image of the institutions they represent. A perfect example of this is illustrated by the Columbia College Library website. Columbia College defines itself as a private arts and media college with over 120 academic program and 11,000 students. I believe that the library home page is a direct reflection of this mission and purpose. The site is simple and elegant, yet contains large amounts of information in an organized and clean interface. The main page is broken into halves, with abstract art filling the entire right side of the page. The left side contains four major areas of interest: Research, Help, Services and About. All share a simple font and are color coded, with the colors matching the major color themes of the artwork represented on the right side of the page. At a glance, one understands that this is a school dedicated to arts and media.

Under each of the four major headings, sub-headings give one-click access to more detailed information. There are links for all users, (students, faculty & staff, alumni) as well as important information about the library itself and the services it offers. A search function and more links to other college sites run across the top of the main page. I like that the address of the college with a “map it” function and contact information for the site webmaster can be found at the bottom of the page. The overall effect is functional and informative, while supporting the overall philosophy and mission of the school.

Another site that I thought reflected the purpose of the institution was the Reeves Library page at Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary. The top header of the main page has a dark gray background with “Reeves Library” in white. The bottom half of the page contain a picture of the Reeves Library, in pink and gray. The bottom of the page repeats the darker gray of the top header, and contains Library contact information. The middle of the page is broken into four sections, highlighted in pink, which blends in nicely with the rest of the page. It is very calming and soothing to look at, which makes sense for a Seminary Library.

The four sections are “Books & Media, Articles & Journals, Research Help, and About Reeves.” Each section has subsections underneath that allow access to more detailed information pertaining to the main section headings. One feature I did like was that an IM screen appears on the right hand side of the page whenever a subsection is accessed, allowing the user to instant message a reference librarian at any time. There were several shortcomings at this site however. The most obvious was that there is a copyright notice at the far right hand bottom corner of the site, dated 2005, which makes me wonder how current the site content is.

The other is that unlike the Columbia College Library main page, the Reeves Library main page does not link out to other parts of the College. After sliding my cursor over every word on the page, I did find that “Moravian College,” which followed the 2005 copyright, was a live link to the rest of the college website, but this link was not offset in any way to let the viewer know that it was there. This link should be in another color or underlined so that viewers can easily visit the college main page to find out more about this college and its history (the college was founded in 1742 and is the nation’s 6th oldest college.)

After visiting these other sites it is a little disconcerting to visit the Crown Library home page here at Dominican University. The main page seems like a work in progress that is only half completed. I do like the colors, the University Mission Statement, and the information bars at the top of the page (Quick Links and a Search box.) I even like the left side in gold, with links to core library functions. But click on a link, (Contact Us,) and you are directed to another page that invites you to contact the library, but gives you no information as to how to do so. I also do not like that the main body of the page does not fit in the browser window without scrolling down. There is good information here, but if feels incomplete.

It also seems odd to me that Dominican University has a Graduate School of Library and Information Science, yet has no link to the school on the main library page. The main headings in the middle of the page need to be redesigned, and split up (Library Services and General Information & Contact Us have too many subheadings.) The page also needs to have some type of IM service (especially since the “contact us” page invites us to IM the library staff.) There are many new Web 2.0 tools that are free, easy to use, and no doubt are already in use by much of the student body, but are not reflected in the library site. Incorporating these new tools somewhere on the page is a must.

As it stands now, the main page needs to be simplified (which can be done without giving up any content, see the above examples) because there is too much information shown without any context, or good graphic design, making the overall effect one of confusion. Simplifying the site will increase ease of navigation and increase the chance that the services that the library does offer will get used. If not, why have them?

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~ by bassperr on October 20, 2007.

One Response to “Web Page Review”

  1. I was useful very much.
    Thank you

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