Designing effective library websites



Here I look at The University of Western Sydney (UWS) Library’s website in regards to look, navigation and its use of web 2.0 tools. I have identified a number of criterion in which I will discuss what I feel is right or wrong with the site.


UWS Library uses a large slideshow on its homepage, creating interest in its website and promoting events and resources, by having this slideshow in a prominent position it creates interest and gives users reason to return to the website on a regular basis (Mathews, 2009).

Visual clues

UWS Library website uses visual clues in website creating links to different services and resources in colour coded sections. Although the use of different colours is a great idea unfortunately these colour codes are not followed through in the rest of the website pages making navigation difficult.

News and information

UWS Library has two news sections in a very prominent central position on its homepage, a news box and a view of its latest twitter feed. A down point of this is that the news feed and twitter feed need to updated regularly in order for the website to feel fresh and not outdated (Mathews, 2009).

Search boxes

A search box is in a prominent position on the homepage, the library maintains this search box in the same position on all of its pages in order to create ease of use for the library’s users. (Mathews, 2009).

Mobile friendly

UWS Library appears to have a separate mobile website than its web based site. The mobile sight is simple with little images. Although the mobile site has a different feel to the main web based site the limited use of images helps in download times especially for users relying on 3G or 4G.


The UWS Library website does give users different ways of giving feedback, either by chat, email, phone, social media, FAQ’s or by filling out an online form. Although a few of these methods are easy to find the FAQ and form response pages are difficult to find and can be cumbersome.


UWS Library website manages to create a consistent online identity that remains interesting, looks modern and manages to tread the fine line that keeps within the larger organisations look while remaining individual (McBurnie, 2007).

Mathews, B. (2009). Web design matters: Ten essentials for any library site. Library        Journal. 134(3), 24-25.

McBurnie, J. (2007). Your online identity: Key to marketing and being  found. FUMSI. Retrieved from

University of Western Sydney Library. (2014). Retrieved  from

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