Iowa City Public Library debuts new Web site - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City Public Library debuts new Web site


IOWA CITY (NEWS RELEASE) -- On July 1, 2009, the Iowa City Public Library launched its newly redesigned Web site to the public, offering easier navigation and better organization of the content Johnson County residents have said they seek out most frequently.

The Library Web site was last redesigned in 2004, to coincide with the opening of the new building that was finished that same year. It is now five years later and, though the physical walls of the Library space remain intact, the virtual walls of the Library Web site were beginning to show signs of design fatigue.

In February 2008, the Iowa City Public Library commissioned a usability study of our site to identify areas that users found difficult to use, or information that was difficult to find. For the study, volunteers were recruited to come to the Library and be videotaped performing a list of tasks using the Web site. Hand motions and search strategies were then analyzed for each subject. Another set of volunteers was recruited to participate in an exercise called "card sorting." In "card sorting," participants are presented with a stack of cards with each card listing a particular task or piece of information found in the Web site. Each user then sorts the cards into what they consider to be relevant groups.

These groupings are then statistically correlated and the consensus groupings are used to form the nucleus of a Web site navigational scheme.

Navigation was one of the weaknesses revealed by the usability studies.

Users found there was a lack of navigational consistency from page to page and that some services were difficult to locate. The new navigation scheme will be consistent and constant throughout the site.

In addition to developing a new navigation structure, a Web site design committee consisting of Library staff from all departments worked for over a year to reorganize and rewrite content that conformed to these design principles:

1. Provide shorter, clearer pages for easier readability, and less


2. Convey a warmer, more human experience tied to the Library's

own environment.

3. Create a wider, shallower site so more pages are accessible via

fewer clicks.

Recognizing that no Web site is ever really finished, we at the Library are confident this new design will provide us with the means for structured growth into the near future. Search it, explore it, and let us know what you think.

Just a few highlights from ICPL's new Web site (Explore our new site at

Books and More

œ Book reviews and reading suggestions

œ List of books, videos and music added this week and maps of

collection locations

œ Downloadable books

œ Books clubs and reading programs

Reference and Research

œ Improved access to online databases

Library Newsroom (

œ Library news

œ Press releases

œ Event photos

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