Gearing up to redesign your website? Wondering where to start? Looking for advice about the process? This interview is part of a series featuring a variety of approaches that Massachusetts public libraries have used to redesign their websites. In this interview, we’ll learn about the Winchester Public Library’s website redesign from Theresa Maturevich, the Assistant Director of the Winchester Public Library.
What process did you use for your library’s website redesign?
Theresa Maturevich: We knew our website was outdated and difficult to navigate so one of our staff members kicked the project off by conducting usability tests with patrons. That information was reviewed by a small internal website redesign committee who then reviewed a number of other public library websites, mapped out a proposal for our new website architecture, and gathered recommendations for web design companies. We were fortunate to have a great company local to Winchester, Stirling Brandworks, who also happened to have a great deal of experience with public library websites. From usability testing to the launch of the website it took just under a year.
How did you draft the organization of content on your new site?
Theresa Maturevich: We did not invest in any specialized software for organizing the website content. Our Head of Technology and Information Services mocked up sample layouts and navigation templates in Google Slides. Our redesign committee collaborated in Google Drive to refine our ideas before presenting them to Stirling. Visual aids were very helpful to us as we narrowed down our choices as was being able to reference the usability study responses.
How did the principles of user experience influence your redesign?
Theresa: The website redesign committee was mindful to keep our patrons in mind when planning the website. Our initial goals in this regard were to declutter the website, make it easier to navigate, and improve both the accessibility and the mobile experience. We removed over half of the original webpages, updated the language, and used the usability data to inform our navigation.
How did you approach branding and aesthetics?
Stirling Brandworks had several website templates and color palettes for us to choose from and we planned for a small refresh to the library logo at the same time so that the color and font of that was in keeping with the new website look.
How will you update the site and make sure it continues to be accessible and user-friendly?
Our website launched in early March 2020 so initial plans to follow up with patrons to continue usability testing was tabled while our focus turned to the pandemic. The current plan is to revisit that idea and see if there are obvious improvements that we could make. We are also finalizing guidelines for accessibility which should be reviewed annually.
What advice would you give to a library getting ready for a website redesign?
The best advice I can give is to not rush the process. Take the time to poll your patrons, read the latest in accessibility guidelines, review other websites, and get a good sense of what changes you want to see.
Interview with Theresa Maturevich, Assistant Director, Winchester Public Library
Interviewed by Michelle Eberle, Consultant, Massachusetts Library System