New Website Report Ryan Deschamps April 23, 2008 Recommendations: Continue to develop and review online services according to new website architecture with review and visioning report by February 2009. Develop an experimentation space to pilot new online services, digital collections and other services in beta form, prior to full launch. Continue to work with departments to enhance their web presence. Background: The Halifax Public Libraries launched a new website on January 14th, followed by the launch of Downloadable audiobooks on January 21st. Promotion of the website focused on the introduction of audiobooks, as the new service being offered to the public. Results: The statistics and comments about the website have been analyzed over a period of 2½ months, from its inception until March 31st. These statistics show an increase in almost all indicators, with strong increases in the number of pages visited and the amount of time spent on the website. Total Unique Visitors Unique visitors show the number of unique IP addresses (computer terminals) that access the website over the month. This is a good measure of the total number of individuals who access the site. At the Halifax Public Libraries, this number could be under- represented because many people will access the website from any one of our public computers (many unique visitors may visit the site from one public computer, which would only register as one IP address). Month Total Total Unique Percentage Unique Visitors Change Visitors Corresponding Month to 2008 Month 2007 Month January 35305 31736 11.2 % February 34884 31407 11.1 % March 36105 32754 10.2% Total Visits “Total visits” refers to the number of visits to the website, regardless of whether they were “repeat” customers. This is the measure the Halifax Public Libraries use to measure performance. Month-to-month, the library saw sizeable increases in visits, including a 6% increase in March 2008 that included the Easter/Good Friday long weekend (March 2007 did not include these holidays). Month Total Total Visits Percentage Visits Corresponding Change 2008 Month 2007 Month to Month January 108070 95130 13.6 % February 104021 90996 14.3 % March 109884 103809 5.8 % Although no month-to-month comparison stats exist for the catalogue website at this time, Visits increased as much as 10% for each of January, February and March 2008 over September October and November 2007. Month Total Total Visits Percentage Visits Corresponding Change 2008 Month 2007 Month to Month January 96621 87077 (Sept) 11.1 % February 94672 92845 (Oct) 2.0 % March 98120 88869 (Nov) 10.4 % Total Page Hits Page hits occur when a visitor accesses a page on the website. Accompanied with other successes, an increase in page hits is an indication that customers are finding increased value from the content on the website. Month Total Total Page Percentage Page Hits Change Hits Corresponding Month to 2008 Month 2007 Month January 346031 255088 35.7 % February 361342 242993 48.7 % March 357822 257622 38.9 % Visit Duration Visit duration is an estimate of how long a visitor accesses the website during the visit. For the Halifax Public Libraries, many visits are short in duration because they leave the website to access the catalogue. From a usability perspective, provided that other indicators show success, increases in the 2-5m & 5m-15m range suggest that people are enjoying the content and playing around with the website. Current website stats show marked increases in these areas at the expense of the less promising 0-30s category and other indicators point to success of the website from this perspective. Month 0-30s 30s-2m 2m-5m 5m-15m 15m- 30m-1h 1h+ 30m Jan 07 73.8 4.9 3.9 4.6 3.2 4.9 4.7 Jan 08 67.1 6.7 4.9 5.5 3.9 5.3 6.3 % Chng - 6.8 +1.8 +1 +0.9 +0.7 +0.4 +1.6 Month 0-30s 30s-2m 2m-5m 5m-15m 15m- 30m-1h 1h+ 30m Feb 07 73.6 4.9 3.9 4.5 3.1 4.5 5.2 Feb 08 65.4 7.6 5.1 5.9 3.9 5.2 6.4 % Chng - 8.2 +2.7 +1.2 +1.4 +0.8 +0.7 +1.2 Month 0-30s 30s-2m 2m-5m 5m-15m 15m- 30m-1h 1h+ 30m Mar 07 78.7 4.2 3.1 2.2 1.8 6.9 3.9 Mar 08 65.3 7.8 5.4 6.0 3.9 5.3 6 % Chng - 13.4 +3.6 +2.3 +3.8 +2.1 -1.6 +2.1 Website Comments A link on the front page titled “what do you think of our new website?” provided customers with an opportunity to provide feedback on the site. This feature was used quite frequently and we received hundreds of comments over the 2 ½ month period. In fact, the feature has been so successful, we are going to keep it there for the future. The majority of comments have been positive, citing improvements in the organization and usability of the site. New audiobooks were also well received. Examples quotes: “I love it / easy to use.” “This was my first time using your website. It was easy to navigate and I had no difficulties at all renewing my books. It is very “user friendly”!!!!!! “I really like the new web site, all the important information is on there, what time the library is open, it is so much clearer. Thanks for the great job.” “I like the lok fo the new library and especially the audio book section. I used these when communting and the ability to download means I can replenish the books often and avoid late fines. I also appreciate I have more choise too. Great work. I love the library!” We also received some constructive criticism. In these cases, we simply made changes. Problem Response Purple color too washed out. Design team darkened the background to increase contrast. Difficulty finding “My Account.” Altered My Account/Renew button to highlight “My Account.” Difficulty finding “Suggestion for Placed suggestion for purchase in the “at a Purchase” glance section” for easy access. General keyword search not sufficient – Added title and author options to main looking for author & title search too. search bar. Usage The library is also able to track popular pages from the user’s perspective. While access to branch information has always been important, use of branch pages has become even more pronounced since the inception of the new website. We suspect this has occurred because each of these pages includes a list of up-coming programs and a quick list of services. The Research, Services & Readers pages have also been popular, as have the “What’s Up?” section and the Suggest a Title service. Conclusion and the Future The current website architecture has improved the library’s online presence and built capacity for further innovation for online users. With the success of the new site architecture, opportunities exist to experiment with new online services. In development are a number of pilot experiments: The Book of Remembrance digital sites. Encorporating del.icio.us bookmarks into the site for staff first and then for the public. Using the community resource database as a way to promote/link to local organizations in the branch pages. As we develop these “experiments” having the opportunity to let customers use these products before they are placed in the new architecture would help to implement a continuous stream of ideas and services that will keep customers interested in the library’s online presence. A web-based innovation space would help us understand the utility of new services as we produce them. The software industry tends to create a revamp of their websites every year-and-a-half. We propose to review the website by April of 2009 in case it is appropriate to make another change of architecture. Doing so will ensure that the library will need to do fewer time-consuming large-scale alterations to the site in the long run.