The Seattle Public Library

Your Account

March 20, 2018

Redesigning the Library website

project timeline phase 3 of 4

Check this page for the latest on our website redesign project, opportunities for your participation and future plans for the site!


What's New

We are now in the public beta period for our redesigned website. 


At every phase of the website redesign project we have asked for your participation and feedback. Before we launch the new site, we want to hear from you again with time to address any issues. Please note that as a beta, this site is a work in progress. We are still actively building the site and fixing known issues, including:

·         Not all program pages have upcoming events on the page.  “Common Tasks” links to calendars will often lead to empty pages. You can continue to find all events on our current website.

·         Icons are not final in some places.

·         Book covers on book lists look blurry.

·         Some forms are missing. Forms on the site are not yet secure, so please do not submit forms from the beta site (including Ask Us chat and email forms).


Please use the feedback form on this page to submit anything that is not working as you would expect and other feedback you have. We will launch the new website after we have incorporated feedback and fixed any bugs. Check this page for updates on timing.

As we prepare to launch the new site, you may notice minor changes to our emails, catalog and other online tools as we change the designs to match the new site. As we update our event calendar, some pages on this site will not display events, and some event pages may look a bit strange. You can still access and search our main event calendar. This transition should only take a couple of weeks.



Please explore the beta site and send us your feedback.


Thank you for your continued participation!


Project Phases

Phase 1: Discovery (complete)

July - December 2016

What we did:

  • Full-day kickoff including workshops with Library staff and leadership.
  • Content audit and analysis to help us plan for the redesigned site
  • Interviews with key Library stakeholders to help define the goals for the site
  • Review of analytics to understand what website users do on the site


How you helped:

  • Online survey with over 8,000 responses from the public to help us understand current website usage (view results in English, Español, 中文, Русский, Tiếng Việt, Soomaali, አማርኛ)
  • In-depth conversations with patrons at Central Library to understand how they find information on the existing website
  • Over 400 feedback forms submitted at Library branches to help us understand what our patrons want and expect from the website


What we heard from you:

  • Language on the website should be clear and accessible
  • Each page should serve a clear purpose and have a single call to action
  • The new site should be organized based on key tasks and how people expect to perform them
  • It should be easy to find basic information like branch hours


Phase 2: Information Architecture and Design (complete)

January - July 2017

What we did:

  • Testing of current site structure to determine how users expect to find information
  • Revised sitemap to organize content in a logical way
  • Wireframes of key pages to determine how content will be organized on different page types
  • Initial exploration of the visual "look and feel" for the redesigned site
  • UW capstone project to help understand why people use (or don't use) the website


How you helped:

  • Online Treejack study with existing site structure to help us understand where people expect to find information
  • Online card sort activity to find the right categories for the new site navigation
  • Online Treejack study with new site structure to make sure it is easy to find information
  • Interviews with patrons in branches in every region of Seattle to understand their reasons for using (or not using) the website, conducted by a UW student as part of a capstone project
  • Wireframe testing with patrons at Columbia and Broadview branches to see how people would expect to complete certain tasks on the redesigned site
  • Accessibility testing for blind and low vision patrons


What we heard from you:

  • Site structure should be clear and easy to navigate
  • It should be easy for you to discover programs, services and events you may not know about
  • Search functionality is key for many patrons
  • Accessibility is a key consideration as we move into design


Phase 3: Front-end development (complete)

August - September 2017

During this phase our developers created front-end code to hand off to our back-end development team.

What we did:

  • Built html pages for 25 page types
  • Handed off front-end code to back-end development team
  • Accessibility testing for blind and low vision patrons


How you helped:

  • Over 400 people gave feedback and completed a survey after viewing our sneak peek video


What we heard from you:

  • The redesigned site should follow current best practices for accessibility, and our developers have created code that does so
  • Most people who viewed the sneak peek video liked or loved the new designs, indicating that we should move ahead with developing pages as designed
  • Our new designs should not interfere with how people use our catalog 


Phase 4: Implementation and launch (in progress)

September 2017 - Early 2018

Our CMS/ development partner built our content management system and we are moving our web content to our new, fully functional website.

What we did:

  • All new page designs and email templates have been tested for accessibility and meet our standard for ADA compliance


How you can help in early 2018:

  • Test the new site during a beta period prior to launch and send us your feedback. Please check back here for instructions on how you can participate again soon.


Website Redesign Preview

Watch this short six-minute video for a sneak peek of draft website designs.


Summary of Your Feedback

Thank you for helping us make sure we design a website that works for you! During the official comment period - which closed Aug. 8 for this phase of the project - we reached out through email, social media, on our website and in branches and heard from over 700 people through different channels.


Your responses to the website redesign preview video have been overwhelmingly positive. We received 488 responses to the video through our feedback form, and over 75% report liking or loving the designs. Some of the things you mention liking include: simplicity, clear organization, easy-to-find branch information, mobile designs and combined search results.


Pie chart showing seventy-five percent like or love designs

More than half of you either skipped the question about major concerns or indicated that you have none. Many of the concerns mentioned relate to catalog functionality, which have been passed along to the team working on our catalog. Some mentioned that the pages seem to have a lot of information and that they would like an ability to limit their search results to catalog only. We will be testing both usability and functionality as we build the site, to ensure a good user experience.


A few sample responses from the feedback form:


What do you like best about the designs?
"Clear, not cluttered. Not too much information on the page."


"Very clean. Smart location of Search. Systems feels cohesive, visually. Flexible for what seems like so much variable content."


"Listening to our feedback and really trying to make it as useful to us as possible. Also, appreciated an attempt to help highlight and sift through all the activities and resources the Library offers."


Do you have any major concerns about the designs? Is anything important missing from the layouts?

"99% of my searches are for books. If non-book content clutters up the search results, or slows down the searches, that will be's my biggest fear of the universal search box."


"Think too much may be crammed into one page - easy to miss what you want with all the things to look at."


Is there anything else you would like to say about the designs at this point?

"Not everyone has a state-of-the-art Mac. Many of us use older hardware or older smartphones. We also may be concerned about data usage and may be concerned about resource-hungry websites. So I will repeat this: Keep it simple and keep it lightweight. Thank you."


"Just continue to keep it uncluttered."


Have more feedback?

Share your thoughts.

Get involved!

Our most important objective is to meet the needs of the people of Seattle, and here's how you can help.

Although the Discovery phase has closed, we are committed to listening to your feedback throughout the life of the project and beyond.  You can share your thoughts with us about what you would like to see in a re-imagined



Our website was last redesigned in 2003, and the online world has changed a lot since then! When Seattle passed the 2012 Library Levy, you said you wanted to see a strong website that would be a true "virtual library." Thanks to you and your support for the levy, we can create a flexible, intuitive website that will continue to evolve as your needs continue to change.


Here’s what we hope to achieve with the new site:

It will be...

  • Transformational. It will enhance the Library’s power to change lives by providing greater access to our collections, classes, programs and services.
  • Easy to use. The new design will make it easier to find information, download and use e-books, music, podcasts, movies and TV shows, reserve a meeting space and get a Library card. The new website will be responsive to any device - it will display correctly using desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.
  • Inclusive and accessible. It will meet accessibility standards, support our city’s diverse population, and meet the goals of the Library Equal Access Program and our Race and Social Justice Change Team.
  • Inviting. The new site will encourage exploration, discovery, and will make it easy to interact with Library resources and our staff.


Our mission

Our mission is to bring people, information and ideas together to enrich lives and build community. A lot of that happens online these days, and improving the way our website works is key to making sure we give you every opportunity to learn, grow and discover the Library resources you need.


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