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What to Do While You're Waiting for Your Web Site Redesign


Here are 9 things you can do right now to prepare for a fast turnaround on your web site project. A library that prepares well can have a new site up within a month. A library that doesn't prepare may take almost a year.

  1. Decide who you're trying to reach.
  2. Examine your own site.
  3. Look at sites you like.
  4. Make a wish list.
  5. Take pictures.
  6. Gather your information.
  7. Write content.
  8. Learn some web design basics.
  9. Talk to your colleagues.

#1 Decide who you're trying to reach

All library web sites do two basic things: tell people where the library is and when it's open, and get people into the online catalog. Beyond that, you can be more creative.

However, if you try to reach "everyone" with your site, it's not going to reach anyone. Decide who your key audiences are. (Refer to your mission statement or strategic plan.) Keep those audiences in mind as you work on your site.

#2 Examine your own site

Read "Five Types of Content on a Library Web Site." Then take a close look at each page of your existing site. Print this chart (pdf) and write down everything currently on your site.

#3 Look at sites you like

Check out other library web sites, either from the SCLS member redesign list, from around the system, or beyond. Note the things you'd like on your site. (Not everything will be possible, but we'll try.)

#4 Make a wish list

Print the content chart (pdf) again and this time fill in everything you'd like on your new site.

#5 Take pictures

Use a digital camera (or borrow one from SCLS) to get up-to-date images that will add visual appeal to your web site.

#6 Gather your information

It's a fact*: finding information to put on your web site takes 9.4 times longer than actually posting it. Get ahead of the game by gathering electronic versions of everything, including:

*Not really. But it could be true!

#7 Write content

Compare what you have (#6) with what you want (#4), and fill in the gaps.

Read about how users read on the web, and strive to be concise, scannable, and objective.

Put text into Word or plain text documents. Do not bother to format it.

#8 Learn some web design basics

Read the SCLS Online PR Toolkit: Web Site Development and the Web Design and Usability Brain Snack.

#9 Talk to your colleagues

Find an SCLS member library web site you admire and ask the library how they do it. Join the scls-web discussion list.

 

For more information about web site redesign, contact Rose Ziech.