OCPL new catalog review

The Orange County Public Library has a new catalog interface! I, for one, think it’s a great step in the right direction.  Overall, OCPL seems to have great intentions in their web services, but horrible implementation and web design.  It was only in the past month that they began a new blog to help patrons become aware of events and services.  Because their website is so difficult to navigate, it is hardly a good marketing tool for library services.  Here’s an overview of what I think about the web design of OCPL’s homepage:

  • Half of the landing page isn’t about the library at all; the header and top navigational links are all for county of Orange services.  While the county of Orange is the one running the library, libraries need their own sites independent of the city or county that runs them.  The only thing achieved by housing library sites within city/county sites is confusion.
  • The links are disorganized, repetitive, and in multiple styles.  Listing links on both sides of the page and using two drop-down lists at the top of the page is just confusing. We’re librarians.  Isn’t our profession one of organization?
  • OCPL consists of many, many branches across a large county. There should be a far easier way to get to your home library’s page that takes a lot less than a page search and two clicks

The catalog interface wasn’t much better.  And while the basic functionality of the catalog remains the same, it inspires much hope to see that OCPL is at least open to trying a different approach to the design of their web services.

Let’s hope there’s more to come!


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