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Library News Release

Release Date: 09/09/2003

User benefits drive The Seattle Public Library Web site redesign that launches this fall

The thousands of users who log onto The Seattle Public Library Web site every day will find helpful new features and a brand new look and feel when the Library debuts a major redesign of www.spl.org this fall.

A user-friendly navigation system combined with a compelling new color palette will help Library patrons quickly find information they're looking for on the content-rich site.

City Librarian Deborah L. Jacobs said the Web site reflects "all the energy and excitement around our new buildings and outstanding services and programs." She noted the site features the Library's updated logo. "The logo was carefully designed to reflect our 'brand' image: Public, responsive, engaging and caring," she said.

Many of the Web site improvements reflect input provided by members of the public and Library staff.

"Extensive staff and public input, including user surveys and interviews, helped provide us with a blueprint for developing the new site," said Nancy Wildin, manager of the Library Web site. "Young children, seniors, ESL students, users of adaptive equipment and persons with a range of computer skills all participated in helping us make improvements."

The site includes a clearer organizational structure and more emphasis on helping users find the information they want quickly. For instance, events and programs scheduled at specific branches will now appear on individual branch pages in addition to the master calendar. Providing accessibility in all types of browsers - including text-only and voice output - was also a key objective in the site redesign.

Page Addresses Will Change

When the new site is launched, all page addresses (URLs) on the site will change - except the home page, which visitors will continue to access at www.spl.org. Those who type in an old address will either be redirected to the appropriate new page or to a site map that will help them locate the information they want. The Library's Quick Information service - at 206-386-4636 - can also provide assistance.

To aid navigation around the new site, every page will provide links to the heavily used online catalog and user accounts, which have not been redesigned. That means users will continue to use familiar methods to search for books and place holds. The Libraries for All building program site was also not part of the redesign, but will be easy to access from spl.org pages.

New Technology Allows Quicker Updates

What site visitors won't see when they log on to the new site is the streamlined back-end technology that makes it possible for Library staff to much more quickly and easily update content and post the most current information and bulletins about Library programs and services. The new content management system means Library staff members don't have to know HTML coding or Web design to contribute information or graphics to the site.

First launched in June 1995, The Seattle Public Library Web site currently receives well over 7,000 user visits per day, averaging 17 minutes per visit.

During the year-long redesign process, Library staff members worked with the locally based design firm Zaaz, Inc. to develop the new site. Funding for the project was provided by a grant from The Seattle Public Library Foundation.

For more information contact:

Andra Addison, communications director

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