When I started at HPL, I knew I wanted to do something about the web site. What we had was being maintained by an outside person, which was expensive and cumbersome, and I thought the site needed some updating. Here’s a screenshot of what it looked like:
I started work on figuring out what to do about the site before I was even clear on what everyone’s name was. I tried to find out from as many people as I could what they might hope to do with a new site, and then I started contacting web developers to have some meetings and get estimates. I found the company I wanted to work with, and HPL’s wonderful Friends group agreed to pay for the development of the site, and then began months of meetings and writing content and questions back-and-forth.
And now the site is done. You can see it here.
The site’s not perfect, but I love a lot of things about it. First, and most important, we can edit it ourselves from any computer anywhere. We have a fair amount of data about what some of the key things are that people look for when they visit library web sites and what our patrons are most interested in finding, and I think the guys did a great job making those things easy: checking your account, searching the catalog, finding programs, hours, directions, and contact info. I like the retro-y look of the site, too. I think it fits us. We’ll also be able to see how well it works, as we’ll be getting detailed information about how many people are using the site and how they’re using it. Ideally, we’ll use that data to help us figure out what to focus our energy on in the short term, and in a year or two, we can use that data to edit the site. I see this as something that will need to keep evolving rather than something that’s finished. Still, we achieved a significant goal, and I’m feeling taking a moment to celebrate.