Displaying all of the U of I library hours and locations is no easy feat. With so many libraries that each have their own unique hours, and the occasional holiday thrown into the mix, the challenges are many. Based on user struggles, and competitor analysis, it may be time to abandon the current model and start fresh. The Durham County Libraries’ site Is the Library Open? is an exemplary hours page. Users can select the library that they are interested in from a drop down menu and then a map and a very readable display of the hours comes up. There was some concern about there being too many libraries at U of I for this drop down menu model. However, users can take a shortcut to the library that they have in mind by typing in the first letter of the name of the library that they are interested in.
The code is open source, and is available through github. While we didn’t do a full install of the code, we did a mock-up of how it might look for the U of I libraries:
Clicking on the arrow adjacent to the library name will reveal an alphabetic listing of all the physical library spaces on campus:
Users sometimes are more interested in finding an open, quiet study space than a particular library. To facilitate users finding an open library quickly there will also be a link that appears when a library is closed:
Letting patrons view a list of open libraries. The page will have all the essential information for visiting the library:
Many of the University’s libraries are virtual, and will not be listed on this page. This will necessitate a full listing linked from the gateway of all of the libraries. The Library Locations page that is currently linked from the gateway communicates that information clearly, renaming it to Find a Library would be a good way to repurpose it:
This combination of pages would help users find what they want and when they can use it, although we would hope further iterations and user testing would continue.