Library Journal Redesign

Library Journal’s redesign is up and available. I can’t say I’m too impressed, though I am a tough customer. Here is my bulleted list of critique following my first 15 minutes on the LJ site

  • no rss feeds
  • search delivers a segmented results set, subscriber-only pages come up first, then pages available to anyone, lower on the screen. This doesn’t seem like a sure-fire way to get more subscribers, just to alienate non-subscribers [example]
  • searching in the “reviews” section leads to a subcribe page for anyone not logged in as a subscriber
  • URLs are still long and unclean [example]
  • no 404 page [example]
  • fixed width columns make site hard to read at large text sizes and require a lot of scrolling
  • empty content areas [example]
  • ads are giant and blinky, this may be necessary in today’s tough times but blinky ads, banner ads, text ads, and parent company ads and logos make the home page a mishmash of colors and sizes making it very hard to figure out where the important content is
  • Search our reviews section is non-functional. Search boxes are available, but all searches redirect to the LJ home page [example]
  • The privacy policy and terms of use pages seem broken on at least some sub-pages [example]

Some of these critiques are just bugs that I’m sure will be fixed fairly quickly and are standard in brand new sites. Others have more to do with the actual structure of the site and what it’s set up to do. Library Journal has always had good printable templates and pretty great writing. However, a web site that has almost thirty sections and forty topics [accessible via pulldown menus] really could benefit from an information architect, or some groupings more like the site map, which is my favorite page on the site so far. Does it validate? No. Is it accessible? No. Since LJ is a business and not a library, they can take the risk of losing the business of people who can’t use or understand their site. Public libraries aren’t so fortunate, and this site is not a great example of a 2005 web site of an otherwise pretty nice looking magazine.

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