Research | May 22, 2019
Understand the best practices of setting up a medical library website to help increase usage of resources and help drive clinical research forward.
Understanding the dos and don’ts of your medical library website can help increase usage of resources and help drive clinical research at your medical institution forward. Here are six suggestions to help your medical library website provide an intuitive research experience from the experts at Stacks.
The first thing your medical library should do is complete a web design project plan. This ensures there is alignment among all involved and that clear roles and timelines are established. The template will serve as the project framework and ensure that your website transition and launch will be executed efficiently.
Your medical library has a lot of information and resources to offer. The challenge is getting researchers to that information quickly. It can be tempting to try and put lots of information and resources on the homepage of your medical library website, although too much detail can feel overwhelming to users. Information Architecture is one way to organize the information on your website so it can be easily found and accessed by your users. Information Architecture includes menu items, categories of information, where content can be placed on your website, and the words you use to define the content (vocabulary). These simple steps can help your team organize information in an effective way.
Your medical library website should be able to easily integrate all content and technology to assist in the search of content. Content including subscription services, open content, original content, proprietary collections and institutional repositories should all be easily integrated into your website.
People tend to scan rather than read on the web. Make sure that you are matching this intent with the copy on your medical library website. Using clear, concise, action-oriented language will connect researchers to the right areas on your website and will also ensure that any users on mobile devices will have a consistent experience as those on a desktop.
Chose visual elements for your medical library website that relate to your medical institution's brand and/or logo. Colors, fonts and images should match or complement your brand style. Limit the number of colors to create consistency in the visual. The strategic use of white space on your site ensures that your library website is readable and quickly scannable. White space adds balance to the page and allows users to concentrate on the content. The hierarchy of content on the page shows the importance of information. Hierarchy is demonstrated by font size, colors, and placement on the page, with the most important content generally at the top of the page.
Your medical library website should be able to easily integrate all content and technology to assist in the search of content. Content including subscription services, open content, original content, proprietary collections and institutional repositories should all be easily integrated into your website. If you utilize a discovery platform, that should also be an element which can easily be integrated into your library website. Serving researchers a clear starting point with a search box will ensure usage and match their user experience expectations.
Making an easy front-end experience should not require a laborious “administrator” experience. Look for a web-based library platform that offers an intuitive administrative dashboard. For example, drag and drop elements allow for quick changes to your website that do not require coding (on your end). In addition, all main elements of your medical library website should be clearly displayed for anyone on your team to access. The fluidity of the administrator dashboard is key to ensure that your library website runs like a well-oiled machine.
The direction and strategy of your medical institution depend on the research that drives it. Stacks is a web-based content management system used to build, manage and host a dynamic research portal, empowering you to create a robust user experience through unique integrations and exclusive functionality. Download the complimentary brochure to learn more.
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