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Redesign of MCLinc.org
Montgomery County Library & Information Network Consortium

The Main Search Page, Before

I was inspired to redo my local library's page when using it myself. It took me lots of experimenting to figure out why my search for "turk" didn't find the book called "The Turk" in the first five hits. It was a little bit of a game figuring out what the difference was between Keyword and Browse. The site also showed a few classic flaws like fonts, alignment, wording, and so on that make it look less polished than mainstream pages. The live web address: http://spica.mclinc.org/polpac/html_client/ Here's what it looks like before my suggestions:

After... Here's Our Idea for the Page:

Here's what we did:

General Recommendation Description as It Applies to This Site
1. Use sans-serif fonts Use a font like Verdana or Arial.
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

  1. Use sans-serif fonts.
  2. Highlight the main function, the Search to give people immediate guidance.
  3. Explained the functions. Perhaps the Main Search and Browse could include phrases like "...computer-style search like Yahoo," and "like an old-fashioned card catalog..." What do you think?
  4. Made the library names more alphabetical.
  5. Explained that they are home pages (not databases), and left-aligned them.
Reviewing another page, the Home Page

I also reviewed the introductory page for the same site, web address: http://www.mclinc.org I didn't create a mockup of the results, but you can see the "Before" image (in case the actual web page changes). Here are my suggestions:

  1. Make the tagline meaningful: "Online Resources for Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Libraries... the Only Connection You Need!"
  2. Eliminate "Today I want to: "
  3. Eliminate "Check" in Check Bookmobile Services.
  4. Eliminate "Visit" in Visit MCLINC Member Library Web Sites.
  5. Change "Learn more about MCLINC" to "About MCLINC".
  6. Move Employment Opportunities and E-Mail the Webmaster to the main list of links.
  7. Eliminate the small links at the bottom. They're a remnant of the days when text-only links were needed as an alterative to various image links that dominated some pages. This site is predominantly text links so these are redundant.
  8. Change the list of links to a single what I'll call the "Link & Blurb" design, an example of which you can see at http://dictionary.com/ (as of 07-Nov-2002, at least).

There's more to be done on the results pages. See what you would do.


"My interest in usability arose from the pain and tears of patching the wounds of suffering interface designs with the inadequate bandages of help files and user guides." — Daniel Cohen

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