UX inspects – Trafford Libraries

For this month’s UX inspects I’ve been having a look at the Trafford Libraries portal page, mainly because it’s a service I often use. It’s handy working around the corner from the library and borrowing books now and then is a nice change to reading them on my Kindle.

I’ve recreated their homepage based on my own ideas to see how the website could function better for my needs. I can imagine this solution would be very different to a website based on a hundred customer’s feedback each of whom have a number of different needs and issues, which just shows the importance of conducting proper user research before commencing a web design project.

The current Trafford library portal


The problems I face with the current website:

– The site isn’t clever enough. The “New Titles” section features over 2,000 books that haven’t been personalised to me, so it seems unlikely that I’ll scroll through them.

– The “Renew Books” and “Request Books” links aren’t big or clear enough. These are the two main things I use on the website, so I’d like to locate them quickly.

– There isn’t a “Pay a Fine” feature, which would be handy as I never have change to clear my debts at the machine in the library.

– There isn’t a section about my local branch for quickly checking opening hours and branch services.

– In “Search our Library” and “What’s New” and “Here to Help” the plus sign gives the impression there is going to be a drop down to select further options, but the link takes you to a separate page.

– “My SavedLists” function isn’t very clearly explained. I’m not sure how to save any books onto a list or why I would need to.

– Having Facebook and Twitter feeds seem a bit much, when having icons that link to the accounts would be enough.

– The design of the website is a bit flat. It lacks colour and inspiration and a bit of community spirit. Without the community, the library wouldn’t exist so it would be nice to see a bit more from library users.

My reworked Trafford libraries portal

What I have done to combat the above issues.

– “New titles” has changed to “Recommendations based on books you have borrowed”, making the section personalised to each user. I’ve also added quick “Check stock” and “Reserve” buttons on rollover for even faster browsing/borrowing.

– There is now a quick links panel along the top for my most used links including – pay a fine, reserve a book, renew and request an item and suggest an item.

– There is now a whole panel for books out on loan! With due back date and quick “Renew” button on roll over.

– To add a bit of community spirit, the header is now a picture that has been submitted by a library user which could rotate monthly. It’s a great space to promote the community spirit that I love the library for.

– Entire panel dedicated to your branch with a map, opening hours, contact details, services, what’s on and social links.

– “My SavedLists” has been changed to “Favourites”.

– Clearer drop down options in the “search our library” section.

Like I said, this version of the website only takes my needs into consideration, but the difference you can make to your website by listening to your users can be critical. A successful UX is one that cares about how its users behave on a site and will be a major factor in whether people get in touch, register or buy from it.

Contact us today if you’d like to find out more about UX and what we can do to ensure your customers are being heard.

By Jess Reid