I would really like your contribution to this -- post a comment, please.
I have written about this before, twice in fact, but now we are on the verge of making some real progress so it is worth revisiting. I have never been particularly impressed with our website. I don't think it is very attractive or functional (in terms of both architecture and functionality) and I think we can do a lot better. We have made some progress with functionality over the last year and expect to make more soon, but we have held off on the attractiveness because ....
Rollins is currently involved in a project to ramp up its marketing efforts and the College's web presence is obviously a big part of that. Some of us from the Library met with the folks who will be redesigning the College's web presence last week to talk about our audience, what they do on our website, what functionality we need, what we see coming down the pike, and other concerns. It was a good meeting.
One way to approach this is look at what we like about other websites that can inform our rebuild. Last time I wrote about this we got lots of comments. Here are the sites that were mentioned:
Brigham Young University -- Yvonne liked this one. The only thing I don't like is that the white box does not resize. It is a fussy box anyway, and this makes it even fussier. Well not the only thing -- the colors clash as well.
British Library -- The only things I don't particularly like are the navigation bar in the center of the screen and the horizontal orientation
Bowdoin -- I am not as big a fan as I was, except of their federated searching solution, but that could stand out more.
Bucknell -- This one did not get mentioned, but it should have been. First they are using xml. Sweet. Look at that picture with text in the middle -- object lessons on how they change teaching and learning, and they change as you visit the site. The search of the (Bill -- Sirsi!!!) catalog is right there in the middle and look at that calendar function. The whole impression is full, perhaps tending to fussy, but generally, very good.
Gustavus Adolphus -- Still like the clean lines and space, but why call a good blog "Library News"? They could be more creative than this.
Middlebury College -- I still like it, but there are still too many links, and why not have a federated search function on this opening page?
Oberlin College -- What was their new site is now in production and still looks good. I like the blog, but there are too many options under "find", and why aren't they federated search boxes?
Smith College -- I still like the direct link to subject guides in the "find resources" drop down menu, and the quick search of the catalog, as well as the float over menus. The left side is still fussy though.
Sonoma State University -- Another one Yvonne liked. It is clean and has the search of the catalog right there, and I like the haiku.
University of Rochester -- Dani Picard liked this one and they have the distinction of basing design on thorough usability testing. But why have the owl break the line that way? Ugh! Some of the functionality behind the "finding" (why the gerund?) links is great, but why have different lengths of buttons, and why not find a way to put the search right on the front page?
Webster University -- Naomi liked this one. I like the white space but not the font or those little black blobs. Also why say "look for" instead of "find"? As Roy Tennant says, "librarians like to search, everyone else like to find." Finally, the link to the survey results (great idea!) is ugly.