hello ala.org

I have to say I had no idea when I wrote my post the other day that the redesigned ALA.org was going live this week. It looks pretty good, with my minor nitpick being the main page title says “ALA | ALA | Home” in my browser bookmarks which seems a little weird (titles seem borked sitewide actually). Was sort of hoping to see a “Hey it’s live!” page link with info about the transition but honestly, it’s so darned nice looking and normal looking, that seems like a minor quibble. What do you think?

Also: if you see something that is not just not to your tastes but actually broken, please be part of the solution and take the time to email the web team and let them know what happened. Every new site launch comes with a bunch of unexpected little glitches, let’s help ALA fix theirs.

15 thoughts on “hello ala.org

  1. Eh… a little too vanilla for me, honestly, although the menus on the second level of the site (by which I mean those accessible from the left toolbar) have more verve. The front page puts me more in mind of a doctor’s office than the AMA‘s site does. I know we’re supposed to be sober and professional and whatnot, but I’d have liked some bolder color.

    It looks like they’re still working on it, so this could be too early for this particular criticism, but… redirects? Page forwards? Maybe a subject suggestion or two? Please tell me I’m not going to have to redo all my ALA-related bookmarks and links by hand. Again. (This happened the LAST time they redesigned, darnit.) I don’t expect everything to resolve perfectly, but dumping me onto a generic site-search page seems awfully declasse for a site nominally designed by librarians. (And does anyone else find it a little weird that the “ALA suggestions” at the top of their search results look exactly like the “Sponsored Links” my eyes have been trained to skip over in Google?)

    And this means that, less than a week before Banned Books Week starts, every single ALA link on the shiny new ALA/ABFFE Banned Books Week site is now… broken. Le sigh. :P

  2. It is still loading slowly for me. The page titles are wonky as you said. The About page isn’t “ALA|About” but showing only “ALA| ” This is the website for the main professional US library group and the website search is using Google?

    Am I the only one disappointed by the lack of discussion forums on the website? ALA is missing a great way to connect its members and all librarians.

  3. i dont like it, frankly. the site is slow, the menus are messy, and the design looks like it came from the late 90’s. worst of all, it runs cold fusion.

  4. ala.org will still be dead to me until it figures out a way to make the myAla part of the site actually USEFUL – i.e. letting you know what sections/round tables/whatnot you are in, giving you links to updates from those sections, etc.

  5. Thanks for the feedback, everyone, and I’m glad that the general consensus seems to be that the redesign is an improvement.

    Gris, the site is definitely still in the transition phase, and staff here are spending every waking minute fixing bugs, so things will iron out over the next few weeks. Redirects are at the top of the list, so those will start kicking in soon.

    James, if the site continues loading slowly for you in the next couple of days, can you please use the feedback form to let us know? We need to track that kind of thing.

    Also, the website itself is still static, but later this year we’ll be launching ALA Connect, a much more interactive, collaborative site. You can read more about it on the ITTS Update blog. We have big plans for connecting members and all librarians. :)

    Please keep the feedback coming, folks!

  6. I’d stayed away because the transition wasn’t complete (but really can’t afford to do so for long). Based on the remarkably slow loading of the home page this morning, I didn’t really go further–although, I must admit, pages with fixed dimensions in 2008 do strike me as a little, well, either commercial or old-fashioned. Or both. (Funny how almost none of the sites I care about present a home page fixed rectangle taking up a relatively small portion of my moderate-sized screen…they pretty much all take advantage of the screen estate I’m willing to give them.)

    Hmm. The combined discount midwinter/annual reg. runs out 9/30. I guess I have to start using the site soon…

  7. Gris–
    We’re in communication with the staff behind http://www.bannedbooksweek.org so that their links to our site are getting fixed. We got the important one of http://www.ala.org/bbooks working yesterday–the first redirect to be restored.

    As the person receiving all the inquiries from the Page Not Found message, I can tell you that the flurry of messages has already dropped off as we work to take the necessary corrective actions. We’re also returning to some of the structural navigational issues as we can, working with some of the 200+ web developers who are responsible for the content on the site.

    Please do give us feedback, as it will be used not only for the immediate fix but for targeting areas for more intensive usability research and redevelopment.

  8. I’ve often said that I’d rejoin ALA when they fixed their website. Guess I’ll be submitting dues next year.

    I actually enjoy gray templates and commercial design, so I give it a cautious thumbs-up.

  9. I’m glad the new site is up. I’m not a website expert; basically, I just want things to work. I only use ALA’s site when I need something from it and, so far, the re-design is a little better for that. It seems more straight-forward. It does seem a bit dull looking to me, but that’s minor. And I know it’s impossible to appeal to everyone with design and color.

  10. I think it’s definitely an improvement. My biggest problem with it so far has been the Midwinter page’s sidebar and its tiny font. I emailed ALA about it and immediately got a response. It’ll be interesting to see the ALA Connect site.

  11. Your search – poor peoples policy – did not match any documents.
    No pages were found containing “poor peoples policy”.
    Your search – Library Services for Poor People – did not match any documents.
    No pages were found containing “Library Services for Poor People”.
    Library Services for Poor People

    “Library Services for Poor People” comes up with no content on the search box.
    “Coleman Library Outreach Lecture” doesn’t come up.
    Your search – sanford e berman – did not match any documents.
    No pages were found containing “sanford e berman”.
    I cannot find the following items that I have links to: “Classism in the Stacks: Libraries and Poverty.”
    I’m discouraged.

  12. Kathleen,

    Yes, on some browsers, depending on the settings, that is true. There are 18 round tables, which is simply a long list, with no way to regroup them for a shorter presentation. The alternate way to get to the round table list (or the division list) is to use the left navigation to Member Groups & Communities. In the various surveys and focus groups that were part of the usability study, participants asked for quick access to the major member units of the ALA, which is why the division and round table drop downs were created.


  13. And there is indeed something wrong with the search function–which I hope as much as you will be corrected early today (Monday)! It worked Friday–beautifully for some of the topics you were seeking.

    (BTW, I also responded off line to Kathleen and provided her with the direct current URL for the document she was seeking.)


  14. And the good news is that while I was getting the kids off to school and myself to work, the ALA site search functionality has been fixed … and it’s wonderful!


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