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5 Library Website Designs Worth Talking About

October 31, 2008, 9:06 am

A friend of mine is in the initial stages of a website redesign. Her team is looking at a handful of other library homepages to begin their discussions. She sent me the list and they are all decent, but none really seemed aspirational. In my attempt to be like Cramer, here are five that I suggested. These are the sites that inspire me.

  • UNC – Chapel Hill
    I have been a fan of UNC’s website for several years. It has recently changed a little, but the core design is still there. It is a little busy, but I really like it.  Icons work for me.
  • Brown
    Personally, I’m not so into this design… but students love it. I’ve tested it in focus groups as well as in a usability class and the students all gravitate toward this layout. It just seems to work. I had a friend at another college test it as well with the same result. There is something we can all learn here.
  • Buffalo
    I discovered this site not too long ago—I believe they just completed the design this summer. I like the composition—it’s simple yet warm. I do suggest scaling the big image a bit so I don’t have to scroll down. Also, I’d like to see tabs in the area with “news & alerts” maybe something like else, like “events” or whatever. But overall this one has good style.
  • Indiana
    IU is quickly becoming one of my favorite libraries. Their marketing is inventive and I just have good vibes about them. Their site is different than most library homepages—at first I didn’t get it, but it grows on you. I look forward to testing it on students in the Spring. It’s weird, but go with it—talk it out.
  • Oregon
    I have mixed feeling about Oregon’s site. I love the tabbed search bar and the twitter-like news ticker, but I don’t like the bottom half columns. I feel the top part is well produced, but then it just becomes a bit lackluster. Like a song with a great melody but no catchy chorus. Good potential though

Ok, so there you have it. Those are five designs that I find interesting.  Please share others with me.  What are some academic library sites that I’m missing? What else should I be looking at? Where are the creative, slick, imaginative designs?

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