Saturday, September 6, 2014

Jackson County Library Services: new website

Image-capture of upper two-thirds of homepage, Jackson County Library Services website
Image source: Jackson County Library Services
A new website recently went live for Jackson County Library Services, at Developed by iOR Consulting with the Wordpress blogging and website-hosting platform, the site employs a much more hierarchical approach that helps direct viewer attention, instead of confronting a jumble of information all competing to be noticed by the viewer.

“Above the fold,” a slideshow rotates through areas of viewer interest, including Mango language-learning software, free basic computer classes and the JCLS redesign.

Immediately below are detailed links, combinations of text and images, directing viewers to a remote link for OverDrive/Library 2 Go, to information about children’s storytime and to the library’s calendar of events. Each of the images have “alt-text” descriptions for site users with adaptive technology. (Alt-text coding also enables search engines to read sites’ non-text elements.)

I appreciate relief from information overload provided by the simplified design.

And in spite of the radically different appearance of the website’s design, the catalog-access and account log-in buttons are essentially in the same part of the screen as they were with the original site. Thanks, JCLS, for not moving my “furniture” and making me hunt for it.

Some highlights of the redesign, according to an information page, is that the site is designed to be responsive with a variety of viewing devices, including laptop, mobile and tablet, and request forms are mobile-compatible.

There are a few areas that present opportunities for usability improvements: the abstract, picture-based menu icons in the "Research and Reference eLibrary" are not as user-friendly as a simple list would be. And some images on the website — including picture-based links — have no alt-text descriptions.

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