in Design

10 Original Ways to Build an Online Library Website

Do you remember the last time you visited a public library? I bet you go online in order to find the needed piece or book that you can add to your own virtual library. The popularity of online library websites gains greater demand among avid readers. It’s become easier to find the needed pieces for students from worldwide. However, the problem that we often face is the lack of usability of such web pages. In order to help you create a truly effective and appealing online resource, make use of the following tips on how to create an online library website.
According to a 2015 EBSCO survey, 40% undergraduate give a low rating to their book club websites, whereas 15% of them do not use such web pages at all. It may turn out to be rather challenging for an online library website to appeal to an already time-constrained student. Still, the following 10 original tips may help you achieve the expected results.

Set Your Goals

Creating an online library website suggests that you have your own vision and a specific set of goals. As soon as you decide to get your library online, make a short list of the design and functionality must-haves. This will inspire and motivate you as you work on your project.
Keeping the statement to one or two sentences will help you stay focused on the essentials. As soon as you align the core mission and statement of your online library, you can get straight to the launch of your online library website.

Keep Your Site Simple

There is nothing new in this statement. Still, it requires your special attention. Building an online library website suggests that you will build an information-rich web project. In order to keep it simple and easy-to-browse, do not stuff it with unnecessary elements that would only distract the users’ attention. Heavy animation effects and complicated backgrounds won’t spice up your design. These will only distract your audience.

Make It Easy-to-Browse

The search of your online library website should be simple and intuitive also. Making the search box prominent, you help the users reach the needed category once they land on your web page. So, one search box on your web page will be more than enough.
Additionally, you can provide short descriptions within the search box area This will help you set the users’ expectations and facilitate the discovery process.

Keep the Elements of Primary Navigation Reduced to Minimum

Online library websites offer dozens to hundreds of the useful reads. However, the best practice of building a truly usable online library project is including no more than 7 elements in the primary navigation. For example, your list may look something like this:
• Browse
• About
• Services
• Research
• Events
• Teens
• Kids & Teens

Use Simple Language

Similar to any other industry, libraries have their own jargon. Using such industry-specific words on your site can mislead your readers, confuse them, making a person think too much about the meaning of those words.
Instead, use simple and straightforward content that is easy-to-understand for an average user. You never know the users of what age and background will come across your online library website. So, the proven and best way to make your web age easy-to-use is writing in the simple language. The tip is applied to both the navigation patterns, descriptions, and the content itself.

Build the Homepage with Care

The first impression is important in everyday life and web design. When a person reaches your site for the first time and has a clear understanding of what to do next, then chances are that he will stay for a while and keep coming back for more content. A cluttered homepage won’t appeal to the web users. Vice verse, it will only distract them and stop from reaching the “focal point”.
Your homepage design should include a few major details that will help the web audience make the decision to explore your content. The major items that are recommended to be displayed on the homepage include your location and working hours, library news, contact us, about, and such primary user actions as advanced search.

Test Early. Test Often

You need to have clear evidence on how well your online library website performs. In addition to running regular A/B tests whenever you add a new feature to your web page, do miss the chance to ask your readers to pass site usability tests. On the average testing 5 to 7 users lets you discover up to 85 usability issues.

Save Your Time of the Creation of a Custom Web Design

The technological process doesn’t stand still. New tools appear. The number of intuitive site builders continues to grow. If you thought that the launch of your online library website would cost you too much time, money and efforts, then you may have a sigh of relief.
There is a growing number of WYSIWYG web builders</> that allow you to create a unique web page in the intuitive visual mode. The choice of a reliable hosting provider for your site is simplified as well. The majority of the leading website builders join forces with trusted hosting providers, thus ensuring that you will never make the wrong choice.

Include Dynamic Materials

What audience does your online library target? It’s likely that most of your readers are teens and students looking for the extra sources of information for their educational projects or simply the pieces to read for fun. So, your web page should include something that will keep them coming back to your web page over and over again. For example, you can make use of dynamic materials that will make your readers keep on turning your web page.
You can create your own chart of the top-10 most popular books. Also, you can create dynamic presentations and infographics that will create a buzz around your content.
With the intended to turn “accidental” visitors into your loyal readers, initiate a separate area on your web page featuring “books of the day”, “problem of the week”, etc. This will make your audience curious to come back for the up-to-date information.

Bonus Tip. Include a Donation Form

As a rule, budgets are tight for most of the libraries. Receiving donations from the indifferent people is one of the best ways for them to stay afloat.
So, working on the design for your online library website, do not forget to include the “Add a Donation” button somewhere on your page. It won’t push your readers to make donations straight away. Still, it will be useful to those readers who want to support your project, providing them with a quick way to send a donation to your project.

Library Website Templates to Create Usable Online Library Websites

If you are looking for a quick start of your online library website, then the following collection of book web templates will just come in handy. All of them are fully responsive web solutions that can be adjusted without any special design or coding skills.
Book4You Public Library Website Template

MaryAnderson Book Writer Website Template

TrickleUp Ebook Website Design

GoodBook Ebook Website Template

JackBaker Book Website Design

BookGroup Publisher Website Template

House Press Book Publisher Website Template

PaulAdams Book Website Design

JohnMilford Author Website Template

KevinSmith Author Website Template


Alexandru is the co-owner of TopDesignMag. “If it looks easy, it's hard. If it looks hard, it's impossible. If it looks impossible, it's due tomorrow. At 8 A.M.”