We recommend first fixing the accessibility issues. This process would be relatively straightforward: fix the structural elements, fix the contrast issues, add alternative text to all images and links, and fix the other accessibility issues noted in the WAVE accessibility tool. This would make it easier for people with accessibility issues to use the site.
The next step would be to fix the navigation and page confusion. This is also relatively easy to do. Just reconfigure the site’s main navigation and start simplifying content. Next, we suggest creating a footer navigation that makes sense for the long-term. This means adding items that patrons don’t use every day such as Board of Trustee information, Job opportunities, and information about Hollis, including the library’s history.
Concurrent to updating the site navigation and refreshing page content, hold weekly “Login to your account” classes for library patrons. This will empower patrons to start using their accounts rather than calling the library for their account needs. These patrons could be getting a lot more out of their library member status if they could log in to their accounts—they would have access to New Hampshire’s Overdrive/Libby’s audiobook and eBook services, Hoopla’s video and movie streaming, and some of the NH State Library’s database offerings such as NoveList, RBDigital (magazines), Explora Education (ERIC, and other research databases), and more. If libraries are about access, then many of the Hollis Library patrons are not utilizing these services simply because they aren’t logging into their accounts.
Here is a step-by-step approach to improve usability and accessibility:
Fix all ADA compliance errors, including low contrast, structural element errors, and missing alternative text from images, links, and more
Fix confusing page headings and mislabeled pages
Consolidate overlapping page information and themes; e.g. Contact and Policies (x2)
Add breadcrumbs or a site navigation tree that lets users know their location and how to get back
Streamline the top navigation structure: some of those pages could either be combined, eliminated, or added to the template footer; e.g., Trustee information, History, Employment opportunities and Policies.
For long-term strategies (Phase II), we suggest the following:
1) Implement design plans to make the catalog, main site, and events pages look cohesive, using only one design. Add buttons and breadcrumbs to Events and the OPAC: make it obvious how to go back to the main site.
2) Implement site architecture into long-term planning; come up with a strategy for all new pages and new content, and
3) Continue usability testing as each of these changes are implemented.
By implementing these changes to the Hollis Social Library website, we are certain that traffic on the website will grow, that more patrons will utilize their accounts, and the amount of phone calls into the library will drop significantly.
Users with accessibility issues will be able to use the site and utilize the services of the library easier, and the website will reflect the library’s mission:
The Mission of the Hollis Social Library is to connect patrons with informational, cultural, and recreational resources to enrich life, promote literacy, inspire intellectual curiosity, support lifelong learning, and stimulate the imagination.