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Let’s be consistent: Best Practices for UC Library Home Pages

UC Heads of Public Services (HOPS) appointed a task force to examine best practices for UC library home pages so that our users experience a consistently clear (and common) understanding of our services.  The task group’s report is now available.

The charge for the group was to establish a set of shared best practices in library home page nomenclature, content and layout that if adopted, could create a more consistent experience for users across the UC system.  These best practices could also serve as a useful starting point for future web redesigns across campuses.  In addition, the task force determined that it was important to include recommendations for mobile web sites which are emerging on many campuses.

The task force began with an analysis of top content from multiple UC library web sites and UC’s 24/7 Digital Reference Service’s QuestionPoint transcripts to determine essential home page elements.  Data from CDL’s recent mobile environmental scan was also used in the analysis.  A review of the literature and complete analysis of current nomenclature from each campus were studied to determine recommended nomenclature.  Recommendations for layout were determined based on graphical scans of each library’s homepage as well as literature and first-hand experience related to website usability.

HOPS enthusiastically accepted the report and endorsed its recommendations.  Understanding the complexity of campus library websites and local development, HOPS suggests that, where and when possible, the following be actions be taken:

For immediate implementation. Proposed due date: Not later than June 30, 2011. 

  • Implement nomenclature recommendation for first-tier homepage elements and, where it makes sense, second-tier homepage elements.

For implementation as mobile sites are created or revised.

  • Implement first-tier mobile homepage elements and, where it makes sense, second-tier homepage elements.

Prior to Any Large-Scale Website Revision

  • Consult the Best Practices for UC Library Home Pages document with an eye to implementing as many of the recommendations as make sense given local circumstances.

HOPS commends and thanks the task group members for their work:  Susan Mikkelsen (Chair, Merced),   Kristine Ferry (Irvine), Rachael Hu (CDL), Brian Mathews (Santa Barbara) and Deborah Murphy (Santa Cruz).