USC Libraries plans to debut its renovated website on July 1 in the hopes of updating old infrastructure and eliminating outdated information while optimizing user-friendliness.
Along with adding entirely new features to the USC Libraries’ website, the new design will make previously multi-variable tasks simpler by consolidating numerous usernames and passwords for different sections into a single login for multiple library services.
Hugh McHarg, associate dean for programs and planning of USC Libraries, said the consolidation would make it more user-friendly.
“One of the most significant new features that will be really useful to students is single sign-on for your library accounts. You’ll no longer need separate usernames and passwords for HOMER, interlibrary loan and other services,” McHarg said. “You’ll be able to use your USC email log-in to renew books, request interlibrary loans and take advantage of other services.”
The new layout is not entirely technical, as it introduces aesthetically-appealing site changes to help develop a better general navigation system through USC Libraries’ abundant resources.
Nathan Masters, manager of academic events and programming communication for USC Libraries, wrote on the website that the new features will make the libraries more accessible to students.
“A fresh visual design emphasizes our powerful search box — your portal to the wealth of library resources,” Masters wrote. “New features include a real-time library hours dashboard and tools to help you find and reserve our many study spaces.”
In addition to improving the website’s overall design, USC Libraries has emphasized adding useful material for students and researchers to the site, while clearing out old content and updating current features.
“If through the research and design process we learned that [current services] weren’t as accessible as they could be, we have moved them to areas of the site that make them easier to discover and, therefore, more useful and valuable to students,” McHarg said.
Beyond helping students find open study spaces, the new layout delineates specific features of these study areas: whether or not there is coffee nearby; if there are cellphone charging stations available; if there are printers, scanners and copiers available; how accessible the computers are; and which rooms are available to be reserved all fall within these new features.
With “positive student experience” at the forefront of USC Libraries’ goals, the new website layout will make the USC Libraries a premier tool for online and book research alike.
McHarg said that the primary purpose of restructuring USC Libraries’ online infrastructure is to make the library resources easier and more effective for students to use.
“[The goal] is to create the best possible digital environment for students to find and use the research materials they need to conduct their research and get their coursework done.”
The process of creating new content and databases for the reformatted website has included a multi-faceted approach to each aspect of the current website. Designers considered opinions from employees of the library as well as those of students.
“We began the process more than two years ago. It started with research, focus groups of students and faculty and assessments of the current state of research library sites,” McHarg said. “The research and preparation are really key, as the design follows from what we learned in the research phase through studying user personas, usability assessments and our annual surveys of USC students, faculty and staff.”
The ultimate goal of the website renovation project is to express to students the value of incorporating USC Libraries’ resources into the college research method.
“The libraries provide a tremendous number of resources for every school and every department on campus, and we want to make sure that our website makes it as easy as possible for you to make the best possible use of them all,” McHarg said.
Incorporating technology as a tool for website and library navigation has been an essential element of the reconstruction.
Masters encouraged students to utilize all of the improved features of the website. He also said students can access the details about the redesign on the website homepage and take a guided tour of the new features.