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So close I can click it… May 18, 2009

Posted by davidjdahl in Designs.
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…but not yet.

The new site is starting to take shape, and we’re excited to give you a chance to try it out.  We have a few more tweaks and some work on the homepage to complete before we’re ready for that.  There’s a lot of debris lying around and we’d hate for you to trip and fall.  For now, we have some screenshots.  Consider this your guided tour of our construction site.

The Homepage

Our homepage sans pretty colors

Our homepage sans pretty colors

You’ll find that the homepage is looking a little monotone right now.  Don’t worry, the colors are coming.  We’re doing some building from the ground up, making sure our designs fit the pages that contain content (our internal pages); then we can apply those designs, colors, etc. to the homepage.  The homepage will feature navigation to any of the internal pages on our site, a souped-up search box, a calendar of events in the library, and a tentatively-labeled “featured items” area.  Just wanted to let you know we have a homepage…

Secondary Pages

All of our secondary pages will have a similar layout.  I’ve chosen our Research Databases page to give you a walk-through of the features that each page will have (most of these will be on the homepage as well).   From top-to-bottom, left-to-right here’s what we’ll be looking at: the header, navigation menus, the search box, quick tools, and related pages.

The new Research Databases page

The new secondary page layout

The Header

header

The header section

The header area will contain links to external departments and services that you’ve told us we need to include.  These include Blackboard, Webmail, and Academic Achievement Center amongst others.  Putting these on each page will give you direct access to the other Towson services you use frequently.  You can also access the Towson homepage and the Cook Library homepage in the header section.

Navigation Menus

Hovering over a menu name will expand the list for you to choose a page

Hovering over a menu name will expand the list for you to choose a page

The navigation menus contain links to other secondary pages (i.e. subject gateways, citing sources, interlibrary loan, etc.).  These are organized pretty similarly to the current library website to make things easy for you to find.  Hover over a menu to see a list of pages under each category.  This is the main method of getting around the website.

In this section, you’ll also notice that our library hours for the current day are listed (don’t worry we’re not really only open until 2 PM).  A more detailed list of our hours are available through the “View Library Hours” link.  A link to our “Ask a Librarian” page is also in this section, in bright colors, so you can find us easily in your time of crisis.

The Search Box

Our new tabbed search box will allow you to do various searches directly from the homepage or any other page on the website.  Need an article?  Click the “Articles” tab, type in your search terms, and Academic Search Premier and MasterFile will be searched for articles.

The new library search box - providing easy access to articles, books, and more

The new library search box - providing easy access to articles, books, and more

The same goes for Books+ (searches the library catalog) and Cook Website (searches the library’s website).  Here you can also find quick links to things like the Subject Gateways and the complete list of databases.

Quick Tools

Get access to the library tools you use the most

Get access to the library tools you use the most

The Quick Tools menu is exactly what the name indicates.  It provides quick access to the tools that you’ve told us you use the most.  Quickly and easily connect from off-campus access, access the library catalog, get information on citing sources, or see which floor has the book you are looking for.  Do you think something is missing from this menu?  Let us know.  We’ll look into it (though we don’t want the list to become so exhaustive that it is no longer quick).

Related Pages

Related pages make browsing easier

Related pages make browsing easier

Related pages display a list of links for other library pages (or occasionally other websites) that have similar or related content to the page at which you are currently looking.  This makes it easier to browse the website.  For instance, if you’re looking at the list of databases, you will see links to the Subject Gateways, which organize the databases by subject area, and Research Port, which will allow you to login from off-campus.

End of Tour

I hope you’ve enjoyed our quick tour through the features of the library’s new website.  As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome; just attach them to this blog entry.

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The birth of a new website April 6, 2009

Posted by davidjdahl in Designs.
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At our last committee meeting, we began making some prototypes of the new library website.  As a result we now have a preliminary homepage design.  We hope that you’ll find it cleaner and visually more pleasing than the current homepage without making it difficult to access the things you really need.

An initial prototype of the new library homepage

An initial prototype of the new library homepage

There is a “Quick Tools” area for those items you use the most, a centralized search box with options for getting to the resources you need, and news items that spotlight new resources, activities, and events at Cook Library.  Amidst all this we’ve kept the familiar three-category navigation scheme: Research, Services, and About Cook.  Hovering over one of the three labels will produce a drop-down menu of items like Research Databases, Citing Sources, etc.

Nothing is set in stone yet, so let us know what you think of our new design.

Next up: Navigation…