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David Lee King

Review of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s Website



This time around, I’m reviewing the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s website. If you’re interested on the background of my reviews or past reviews, please see my first one.

Website at a Glance

Hits: Great visual design and navigation, nice and useful Info Guides, catalog and webiste are blended together, highlighting some Info Guides on the main page.

Further Reflection

Strengths:

  • Visual Design – awesome looking website! Colors, headings, choice of fonts – all work together nicely
  • Site Navigation – easy as pie
  • Info Guides – great job on subject type guides! Lots of great information, pulled from a variety of sources
  • Highlights (stuff above News & Press) - this is a great place to highlight new services and resources, like digital audio books, guides, or reference services
  • Events & Exhibits - very clean and simple
  • Catalog – attempted to integrate catalog into website (look and feel). That’s way more than most libraries have done!
  • Usability, Information Architecture – great – everything is clearly laid out – you know where you’re going when you click
  • Computer Reservation – you can reserve a computer by clicking on the main page – cool beans!
  • New resident link – cool idea! They are pulling out a subject guide to feature on the main page, which is a great way to display specific types of content
  • Main focuses – two stand out: content and connecting with a librarian. Can’t beat that!

Weaknesses:

Big Stuff:

  • Linking away from the library’s website – The Ask A Librarian link on the main page is a huge link, high up on the page, that links directly out of the library’s website (to a Nevada virtual reference service). That’s generally a no no on websites. Why? Website customers will immediately leave your site – if this service wasn’t what they were looking for, they’re gone. You can’t count those visits. And, you can’t give the customer more information. A better solution is to make a page describing the service and describing why patrons might want to use the service (and linking tot he service). Then link THIS page to the main page of the website. Problem solved.
  • Teen Zone – Using neon colors and adding pics of teens won’t attract teens. Interaction and content will. The Booklink Poll is a good start – just add LOTS MORE STUFF like that.
  • Just for Kids – My problem? This section is called “Just for Kids” – but it’s not. When I first looked at this page, the first event listed was “Women’s Diversity: 100 years of Influence.” Does that sound like a kid’s event? Also, just taking another peek at the page – it’s not really a kid’s site. Rather, it’s a site designed for parents with kids. Why do I say that? Besides the colors and the dinosaur at the top, there’s no interaction, no large words, no moving things – nothing to draw in a kid. Compare this to Nick Jr or even BookHive (done by a library). Both sites are obviously created for kids. The “Parents with Kids” thing isn’t a bad thing – just don’t call it “Just for Kids” if it’s not.

Small Beans:

  • Good Books – There’s a link on the main pages titled “Good Books.” Don’t they have music and videos? Why not point to more than just book recommendations?
  • Billboard effect – Quick, take a 5 second peek at the main page. Where’s the catalog link? The site is pushing people to the large links like Info Guides and Ask a Librarian. That’s not necessarily a bad thing… in fact, that might be exactly what the library wants – I really don’t know. But – library website planners should think about what the most important resources are, and make sure those resources are seen on the site. Steve Krug compares library web pages to driving past a billboard on a highway – is your message getting across?

In summary, the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District website looks great, works great, and is able to connect library customers to information and to librarians. Work on connecting teens and kids a little more, and this will be one solid website.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://www.lvccld.org Lauren Stokes, Virtual Library Manager

    Dear Dave,
    Thank you for your review of our website. I find most of your comments about our site very fair and appreciate you identifying our strengths and weaknesses. I would like to clarify one comment. The Ask A Librarian link is our Virtual Reference Service which once the patron is logged into the service, they chat with a librarian or they can click on a link within the Ask A Librarian website to go back to the library’s website. Over time we have found people don’t read a page which tells them about a service, they just want one click to get to the service. The site does opens in a new window so the library’s website is always available in the original window as well.

    Again, thank you for your comments.

  • http://www.lvccld.org/ Lauren Stokes, Virtual Library

    Dear Dave,
    Thank you for your review of our website. I find most of your comments about our site very fair and appreciate you identifying our strengths and weaknesses. I would like to clarify one comment. The Ask A Librarian link is our Virtual Reference Service which once the patron is logged into the service, they chat with a librarian or they can click on a link within the Ask A Librarian website to go back to the library’s website. Over time we have found people don’t read a page which tells them about a service, they just want one click to get to the service. The site does opens in a new window so the library’s website is always available in the original window as well.

    Again, thank you for your comments.