Session Notes: Web Site Redesign | Compendium

This is part of a series of Session Notes from grantees who have received Professional Development grants from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries. Each grantee will share their professional development experience and include tips and other resources from the workshop or class. Grantees had their choice of an article for the Compendium, a webinar or a podcast. This project was made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Website Design


Stephanie D. Williams,
District Consultant,
Lebanon County

Rocco Cremonese and Jared Negley, Slippery Rock University faculty, presented “Re-Designing Your Library’s Web Site: A Roadmap to Success” during the Pennsylvania Library Association’s Annual Conference.  Although they discussed Bailey Library’s journey from a Sharepoint website to a SpringShare LibGuides based website, their presentation included many resources to benefit all types of librarians.  There were several factors involved in the coordination of their redesign project:

  1. Which staff members would be part of the preliminary process?
  2. How much input was required from current website users?
  3. Who controlled the redesign?
  4. When the new website was completed, would library staff have the ability to make adjustments to it?

Rocco contributed to the redesign project in his capacity as the Business & English Librarian.  Jared, the Library Technician: Archives, Systems, TLC, worked with Rocco to develop the layout and content for Bailey Library’s new site.  The pair also enlisted the support of the Systems Librarian when a consensus was needed regarding the design.  The team first needed to consider their users.

Were users completing research, searching for items within the library’s collection, or accessing library accounts? Through discussion with different site users, Jared and Rocco determined Bailey Library’s new site needed to meet the needs of primary users.

The main question they asked was, “Can you readily find what you’re looking for?” Most users were successful in quickly navigating the site.  The new site features navigation at the top of the screen, along with common links on the right side using active language- apply, visit, info.  Content remains primarily above the fold, resulting in minimal scrolling for the user.  Some users still experienced difficulties when navigating the new layout.  This provided an opportunity for Jared and Rocco to communicate with library personnel about modifying their library instructional sessions to address specific aspects of the library site.  Jared and Rocco also have the authority and ability to make changes to content on the new site.  If your library is working with an outside organization to develop your new site, you will want to establish a level of content control before you execute your contract.

Each type of user accesses your site with different needs and abilities.  The Bailey Library team gave special attention to colors and fonts used.  Some of the resources the team used are listed at the end of this article.  Jared and Rocco also strived to make the site American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant and accessible from a variety of browsers and mobile devices.  It is critical for libraries to have mobile responsive websites.  If you were unable to attend Jared and Rocco’s presentation, here are some of the resources they highlighted:

Free guides for HTML & design:
Code Academy on HTML and CSS

CSS Font Stack

Here are two webinars that I participated in recently:
EBSCO “Secrets to Creating a Wow-Worthy Website
Nonprofit Hub ‘s “Nonprofit Website Planning

Both webinars reinforce the importance of knowing who your users are and how they are using your site.  Analytical tools and design concepts are further explored in both webinars.