WordPress refuses to let me upload my Content Inventory spreadsheet, so I put it in my Amazon Cloud Drive account.
I’m going to summarize my findings rather than going into detail about the issues for all fifteen pages because the issues are pretty similar on most of them. In essence, the content is good on most, if not all of the pages, but it’s definitely not as user friendly / web ready as it could be.
The History of the Monterey Library is a prime example of that. The page is clearly written in essay format, and while it is interesting information, the format of it where it stretches across the entire screen makes it tricky to read. Even without changing the content of the text, this could be made far easier to read by turning it into a two or three column layout instead of having it in one giant column. Having it in that style so that it’s in newspaper format would be a big improvement, there’s just too much horizontal tracking on the screen for it to be easy to read in this setup.
Another broad critique of all these pages, a bit more minor, but the title of almost all the pages starts with “City of Monterey | Library |” before getting to the actual title of the page itself. I tend to browse the web with a lot of tabs open, typically 20+, and the only library page where I can actually read the page title is the Volunteer page which didn’t have the “City of Monterey | Library |” in front of it. Especially since the library puts its logo in my browser window, I really think having this on the top of every single page is unnecessary and more of a hindrance than helpful.
There were a lot of pages that had the previously mentioned problem of columns that are too wide. It was frustrating to observe because in many of them, such as the Volunteer page, there are what look to me like natural places to end the column, but instead, the text just runs across the page. For example, with this page, there are two ways to format the text that would look cleaner than it does now. One would have the column end with the left edge of the pictures. This would be an improvement over how it’s laid out now, but likely still too long. A better approach would be to have the end of the text at the bottom line up with the unordered list content. Then it would be a nice, neat column, instead of the way it is now where it’s just an awkward block of text.
And then there was the About Us page, which was just awkward to read. The reason that it was awkward to read is that it may say About Us, but given the actual content of the page, it should say Mission Statement in the title because that’s actually more what the content of the page is about. It’s clean and easy to read, but when I finished reading it…I didn’t really feel like I learned anything about the Monterey Public Library. The mission statement is nice and all, but it’s really the kind of thing that I would imagine almost any public library would do. If I was a patron going to a library’s About Us page, what I’d really want to know is this: what kind of books am I going to find there? Are there events, and if so, what kind? How late is it open? What am I going to learn in this library that I wouldn’t in another library down the street or in another city?
Sadly, none of these questions are answered. Well, that’s not technically true, the hours question is answered, but only incidentally, it’s in the footer, so you could find that answer on any page of the library website.
Finally, the cell phone history of the library pages. I suspect I know why this happened, but these pages include text for the following languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Chinese, and Japanese. This is great, but if I were a regular patron looking at these pages coming from the rest of the library website, I’d be wondering, why are these pages all of a sudden offered in multiple languages? The rest of the website isn’t, it’s all just English.
One last issue worth mentioning isn’t technically tied to any specific page because it’s part of the site header. There’s a search function in the top right of the library website, but there’s kind of a big problem with it: it’s too subtle. The only indication that there’s search is an hourglass symbol, there’s no text box unless you click on it. It does say “Click to search” if you mouse over, but it’s not a part of the screen that I’m inclined to mouse over much because the only thing next to it is the site map and I don’t need the site map personally. I suspect this search button has been there for years and I only just now noticed it while doing this exercise. Given that I’m a fairly technically savvy person, if even I am not noticing it, I imagine it’s probably not getting used very much.