Library Website Analysis

Originally written as classwork for the University of Illinois LIS program.

For my library website analysis this week, I decided to analyze the University of Illinois library website. The site recently underwent a complete revision, with the new version I believe just becoming live to the public this past January.

In the lecture for this week, we looked at the old UIUC library home page as an example of a not-so-great library website. This is what the old site looked like (archive from the Wayback Machine, thus the messed up chat window):

old_1

I won’t go very far in listing out the problems it had here, since I’ll be looking more at things that have been (hopefully) improved in the re-design throughout this post. But real quick to summarize I would say that this design had a few critical issues:

  • overly cluttered
  • no clear hierarchies (it took me awhile to figure out that “Most Popular Resources” was a tab referring to the links in the center column of the page, and not the navigation links beneath it)
  • no clear starting point besides the search box
  • not mobile friendly

This is what the new design looks like:

Briefly, some pros in my opinion:

  • clearer hierarchies than the old site
  • color scheme makes the sections of the site more obvious to the user
  • responsive and mobile-friendly

And some cons:

  • still pretty cluttered
  • link to library catalog not very prominent
  • design not consistent throughout the rest of the library pages

That said, I think there has been a lot of improvements made in the re-design, and I found it useful to look at the two different versions to make comparisons and really see some examples of some of the ideas Krug talks about throughout Don’t Make Me Think.

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