Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
It's all in a label: About the library, About us, What we do, Who are we?
Website labelling is a key element in guiding your visitors to where they want to be. Labels are used throughout website navigation as signposts intended to help visitors locate what they need easily and quickly.
Good labels avoid confusion and jargon to create clear and unambiguous navigation as people browse and search your site. A quick Internet search reveals multiple ways in which library websites label links to their catalogue:
It is important to consider the following points when deciding which terms to use for your website labels:
While you are in the planning stages of your site there is an opportunity to talk to your prospective users about terms that they would use to describe particular content areas of your website. Remember that you are familiar with the content and terminology of your site but what is it that your site visitors expect and want to see?
Card sorting is one method which can assist you in establishing how visitors expect site content to be grouped, and what labels they would assign to each broad area. Open card sorts allow users to group site content cards and create their own labels. Conversely Closed card sorts provide users with site content cards and your predetermined labels for grouping them. Read more about card sorting including a description of the process on the Usability.gov website.
Depending on what type of card sort you use with a group of potential library website visitors you can then analyse the results to establish any:
Another approach to creating meaningful labels for your site is to survey your audience. Mark Aaron Polger has published some research he conducted this year which examined what vocabulary students prefer on library websites.
This article includes the survey questions (as an appendix at the end) that were asked which you might find useful in your own research and planning.
All of this valuable information gathering can assist you in creating a new school library website or adding further content to an existing site. Whatever labels you eventually decide on the most important thing is to be consistent across your site and use the same terminology whenever that label appears on a menu or as a link.
The main aim is to create a site that is responsive to your target audience by including their perspective in the organisation and labelling of your site's content.
Image from http://cghs.dadeschools.net/library/
The first in a new series of blog posts about school library websites.
Usability is a key contributing factor to the success of your school library's online presence.
The concept of usability focuses on the user experience when they visit your website. Before you launch your site and start creating pages, writing content, and adding images it is important to sit down and do some planning.
Consider the following questions:
In terms of tools to assist you in your planning you need use nothing more than a pen and paper but for those who prefer to do their planning in a more visual, online way you could use a mindmapping tool such as SpiderScribe which Carrie reviewed recently. This allows you to pull pieces of information together and see what it might look like as a framework. Forward planning also assists you in seeing how your web presence might grow and the type of communication that you require e.g. formal, informal.
Once you have a broad outline of your purpose and content areas it is time to think about what tool you will use to create your site a blog, wiki or website. For background reading on the differences in these tools take a look at our page on blogs and wikis.
Firstly it’s important to discuss this with your school Principal and ICT team to find out what the preferred options are and which tools are already being used by staff and students. If there is an existing school website this can provide you with a jumping off point for the library. This is also an opportunity to advocate for the library’s real estate space on the school website as an important extension of your current services for both students and the wider school community. Ensuring the school library’s online presence is easy to locate is vital!
Time is a major factor in the development and ongoing maintenance of any website so consider collaborating with other staff in your school to share the load. Utilise all members of your school library team including the librarian, TLR and your student librarians.
IASL - Creating a web page for your school library
0800 LIB LINE
0800 542 5463
Get help from our advisers using this free phone line