Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ball State University Libraries Unveil New Homepage

Visitors to the University Libraries’ homepage,, noticed a completely new page design and look and feel this month. The new homepage, and five associated secondary pages, went live on Wednesday, May 23, 2007. Users’ reactions have been favorable.

The Web Development Working Group (WDWG) planned and designed the pages based on weeks of analysis of user needs and research into upcoming library trends and web-usability principles.

The biggest difference from the previous homepage, which was introduced last summer 2006, is the concept of “secondary pages.” Rather than trying to include every useful link on the homepage, the WDWG included more links on separate pages to serve users better.

There are five secondary pages:
· Find, featuring links to search for books, articles, digital images, and more
· Help, with links to different help topics and frequently asked questions
· About, featuring general information, links to the Libraries’ collections and service areas
· Resources, which lists links to targeted information for students
· New and Notable, which highlights new services and features, including links to articles about the University Libraries

The WDWG’s objective for these new pages was simplicity of design and text. The homepage describes what kinds of things are on each secondary page, rather than listing every item on those pages. Text is kept brief and simple. White space is utilized to direct the user to the central choices.

The homepage and secondary pages will be evolving over the summer. As Dr. Arthur W. Hafner says, “We are always in beta. Our website is in continual development.”

The WDWG plans to conduct usability tests, using students as testers. Changes will be implemented based on the results of those tests and user comments. After seeing the pages in production, some design changes might be made to the secondary pages as well.

Other developments slated for the summer include an A-Z Index of all pages, additional rotating graphics for the top of the homepage, and improvements to the Student Virtual Library page, view

The WDWG welcomes comments about the University Libraries’ new homepage and secondary pages. Comments may be submitted online at,,--2051,00.html.

For more information, contact Katie M. Bohnert, Library Enterprise Service and Systems Support Analyst, Library Information Technology Services,, (765) 285-8032.

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