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New Website Report

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					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.

				
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