Wicked simple website

“Save the time of the reader” is one of the five laws of library science, and the new robbinslibrary.org does just that, and then some. The new robbinslibrary.org is intuitive, minimal, and mobile friendly.

We strive for excellence in meeting the needs of our users quickly and without fuss, and our site is right in line with this service ethic. Our data shows that most of our site visitors are accessing robbinslibrary.org on their smartphones and tablets.  We’re not alone in this trend. In 2015 the Pew Research Center reported “Nearly two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners, and for many these devices are a key entry point to the online world.” The new design is more sensitive to mobile users than any of our previous sites.

The most important and frequently visited pages on the website are now easier to find. Need information on using a meeting room? Looking to reserve a museum pass? Those popular services are now on the front page.

You’ll notice three toggle buttons on the left side of the screen that float along with you wherever you go. One is for color contrast, making it easier for those with sight issues to discern page elements. Another allows you to increase the text size with one click. The third displays the site in grey scale. “Skip links” have been added to the site to assist those using screen readers.

Perhaps the most striking aspect is an absence of images and pictures, with the exception of a logo. This choice also supports accessibility and promotes faster load times.  And if you want pictures, you’ll find plenty on the Robbins Library blog, the Children’s blog, and of course Twitter and Facebook. We love to post what’s going on at Robbins and Fox, and connect you with all that’s new and important about your library.

Our calendar of events is more visible and easier to find and share on the new site, too. As you move through the site, events are always visible on the right side. 

Have fun exploring, and as always, we welcome your comments.

Robbinslibrary.org exists because of generous support from the Friends of Robbins Library, and we thank them for supporting this and many of our advances in technology.

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6 Responses to Wicked simple website

  1. samldiener says:

    Hello,
    Overall, I like the new design. At first, I couldn’t figure out how to get to “my account” so I disliked the design very much. I first accessed it by mobile phone and couldn’t figure out how to sign in to my account. By accident, on my computer, I clicked on the banner announcing that it was a new web design (which I didn’t realized was an overlay until I clicked it), and voila, the “my account” and other links at the top of the page were no longer occluded from view. The announcement banner trumps (ahem) the wicked simple design by hiding key interface elements.
    In Peace,
    Sam Diener

  2. I so admire how all of you at the library seem to be constantly creative, always looking at how to better serve us all. I’m one of the rare people who don’t have a smart phone, but still, I appreciate the logic behind the new design and look forward to testing it out.

  3. Paul Bay says:

    Thank you for improving the web site. I looked at it on the big screen on my desktop and found it a bit austere but quite serviceable. I looked at it on my iPhone 5 and found it well-organized and quick to page through. If the pictures and fancy buttons were making the old site slow to load on tablets and phones, then I agree it was a good choice to remove them. I like how easy it is to get the main phone number and almost dialled it by accident.

    The main reason I surf to robbinslibrary.org is to look up the weekend hours, which I never seem to be able to remember. I’m happy that now all I need to do is hover my mouse over “hours”. It is also important to me to quickly find out what times/days the library is closing for holidays or snow days, so I hope that info stays prominent.

    I think the red announcement at the top about the change isn’t necessary; your article explains the reasoning better than the Rometty quote. (When Ginni Rometty praised the removal of layers (CNBC interview on October 20, 2014), she was congratulating herself on reducing the number of layers of management at IBM, and was hoping to make her company more responsive to the speed of change in the business world.)

    • Hi Paul,
      Thanks for your comments, I’m glad you’ve had a positive experience on the new site. It’s interesting to know the origin of the Rometty quote–still an apt analogy for our goal, I think, especially the part about responsiveness. The new site is built with WordPress and that makes it way easier for staff to respond with updates to text, etc. as time goes by.

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