UMass Libraries Launch New Website
The UMass Amherst Libraries go live June 1 with a redesigned website.
A beta version of the site has been operational alongside the existing site since mid-March, which has allowed the new site to be reviewed for accessibility, accuracy and ease of use, as well as ensuring alignment with campus style.
With approximately one million patrons visiting the Libraries’ website to access services and resources each year, this new site represents an investment in access for our students, faculty, staff, and community members.
Therese Kaufman, the Libraries' User Experience and Web Services Librarian, took on the leadership role of an internal redesign team two years ago. Kaufman began the process by poring over user data to determine what services, resources, and functions were most sought after by patrons, and used the findings to create a new architecture that would make it easier for patrons to access them. “We wanted to create a site that was a more user-focused and user-friendly experience for everyone”, said Kaufman. “Our goal was to highlight the many services in the Libraries that our users can take advantage of.”
The timing of the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be an unexpected silver lining for the website redesign project, as nearly all library functions moved to delivery through the website versus in-person, additional data on patron preferences and behaviors became available.
“I want to thank our staff and patrons who helped us create this new gateway to the Libraries,” said Sarah Hutton, interim Dean of Libraries. “Our hope is that this new design will empower our community members to take their research experience to the next level.”
Structural changes include ensuring that the most popular functions and website destinations, such as prioritizing Find & Borrow and Teach & Learn activities, are located at the top of the webpage.
Many of the most frequented pages and resources are now even easier to find and will function the same as they always have, such as the Libraries' list of databases, the Get Help function, and the Du Bois Falcon Cam.
Kaufman will conduct usability testing through summer and fall to improve the new site for users, and will continue to lead a team of people from across the library to incorporate ongoing usage assessments and user feedback, so the site can continue to grow and change in response to the needs of our patrons.
The UMass Amherst Libraries is the largest state-supported academic library system in New England. With more than 8 million distinct items that span print and digital media, much of it is available to the campus community and the wider world around the clock, from virtually anywhere at library.umass.edu.