Issue: Spring 2015 – Check it Out

New websites are intended to increase website satisfaction and to provide ease of use, while meeting current web design standards and user needs. The last time the websites for Pius XII Memorial Library and the Medical Center Library had been updated was Spring 2010; thus in December 2013, SLU Libraries began designing new websites for Pius Library, the Medical Center Library, and selected Web forms for the Madrid Library. The purpose of the redesign was to create websites for Pius Library and the Medical Center Library that:

  • reflect the needs and interests of library users
  • inform users about library resources and services
  • help users carry out their research
  • showcase unique resources
  • brand individual libraries as part of the SLU library system (but not so rigidly that they don't maintain their unique identity)
  • situate/contextualize departments and the libraries in relationship to each other
  • provide ready access to internal information for library staff, campus partners, and potential employees


The components that were incorporated into the redesigned website included graphics and layout, structure, and content; with the goal of:

  • presenting a simple, clean design
  • providing a uniform and distinct organizational identity
  • offering a good balance between functionality and aesthetics
  • emphasizing graphic and interactive navigation elements over long lists of text links
  • avoiding long drop­down menus and limiting the need to scroll (whenever possible)
  • consolidating and/or unifying site functionality and avoiding multiple instances of the same information across the site
  • making it easy to find basic information about the library and its services and resources
  • providing ready assistance to novice/first­time users (but not to the point of disadvantaging more experienced users)
  • providing content that includes generally understood words and phrases in all labeling and a logical organization (making it easier to find things on the site)


Upon completion of the website design in September 2014, the Pius­MCL Assessment Committee conducted a usability study to get user input. Of the 115 total participants, 87.8% (101/115) of participants in the Pius study rated their overall experience of the new site positively―Good to Very Good. 79.3% (23/29) of participants in the MCL study rated their overall experience of the new site positively―Good to Very Good. Suggestions from survey participants were analyzed and specific suggestions for improvement were incorporated into the ongoing site redesign. This site (, which officially launched on March 10th, will replace the current website ( this summer. In Spring 2016 users will be surveyed again to determine how we can continue to improve the site for the benefit of the SLU community.


Contact the Author

Deborah E. Cribbs
M.A., I.S.L.T.
Technology Coordinator
Web Developer
Pius XII Memorial Library

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