When It Comes To Improving Your Library Website, Not All Web Platforms Are Created Equal

Posted February 17, 2017 in Technology

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Library websites are unique and built for the specific needs of their users. Many of the web platforms or content management systems (CMS) libraries use today were not created for the needs of the library let alone their users. Below we look at three areas where most CMSs fall short when it comes to meeting the requirements of today’s library website and introduce a solution that is revolutionizing the library experience.

 

1. Affordability

For most libraries, you are working with a limited budget with part of the funds allocated to either a new CMS or hiring a web agency to design, host and update your library website. Since most of these services were not built for libraries, they will need to be tailored to meet the specific needs of your library and your users. This means the overall budget needs to be considered as, depending on which service you use, additional costs will almost certainly be incurred. Whether integrating other library-specific tools like a Discovery Service or an ILS, or wanting to change the look and feel of your site, chances are any change (small or big) will require additional funds.

2. Optimal User Experience

When it comes to a CMS, there are two user experiences to consider—your website visitor (patrons) and your ‘back-end’ administrator (you and/or your staff team).

Opening the digital doors of your library with a responsive website allows your library and your resources to go everywhere your users go. People today are accessing your library website from a variety of devices at any moment. Is your library website responsive? When you make updates or changes to your library website, are you confident that they are displayed on mobile phones and tablets the way you want them to? Often, without a responsive site, content can appear broken resulting in a poor user experience and users may not return to your site to get the content they need.

Conversely, as an administrator of a library website, you want to be able to update, make changes and integrate services with ease. This workflow may depend on the CMS platform, as well your own technical knowledge and abilities. For example, if your web platform is not completely intuitive you may be forced to learn the details of HTML or other coding skills. An easier backend system means an optimized experience for the librarians tasked with keeping the website up to date and, ultimately, a better web experience for users.

3. Satisfying Consortia

When it comes to being part of a consortia, value, scalability and a centralized CMS are essential. As most web platforms are not designed with the specific needs of libraries in mind, let alone consortia, it is difficult to find a service that can support multiple domains and websites. What you need is a web platform that allows you to create a unique look and feel for each website and serves as a singular location where different staff can be assigned to contribute, edit or publish content to one or many of the library websites.

Welcome to Stacks.

Stacks is the only web platform created by library professionals for library professionals. Stacks understands the challenges librarians face when it comes to the library website and has built a web platform and native mobile apps that lets you get back to doing what you do best; curating excellent content for your users. Learn more about how Stacks and the New Library Experience.

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