Case Study: Hampton Bays Public Library Website Redesign

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The Challenge

Hampton Bays Public Library, a vital community resource located in Hampton Bays, NY, was struggling with an outdated website running on an obsolete version of WordPress. Staff were apprehensive about updating the website due to concerns about potential crashes, leading to a static website that was unable to keep up with the rapidly changing digital landscape.

With the site’s content organization in need of an overhaul, the library staff sought help from Searles Media to update their web presence and enhance user experience while ensuring the safety and integrity of their online portal.

Finally, the existing website had not been designed with mobile devices in mind and was extremely difficult to navigate and almost non-functional on these devices.

The Solution

Searles Media embarked on a comprehensive redesign and redevelopment project, ensuring that the new website was fully modernized and easy-to-use, while remaining faithful to the Library’s character and heritage.

1. Site Assessment & Reorganization

The first step in our process was to thoroughly assess the existing content on the library’s website. Our team worked closely with library staff to understand their needs and capabilities, the needs of their patrons, and how the site could best serve both.

After the initial assessment, we set out to reorganize the content. We worked with the library to logically structure the site, ensuring that visitors could easily find the resources they were looking for in the fewest number of clicks possible.

Part of this included an interactive navigation component to help present the depth of content contained on the site in a user-friendly, well-organized menu.

2. Website Redesign & Development

After gaining a thorough understanding of the library’s digital needs, our team set out to redesign the website, ensuring we adhered to current web design practices. The new design focused on responsiveness, with a flexible layout that adjusts beautifully to different devices, from desktop computers to smartphones.

Moreover, we implemented a clean, modern aesthetic, ensuring that the site was easy to navigate and visually pleasing. All elements, from typography to color scheme, were carefully chosen to reflect the library’s brand identity while fostering an inviting and user-friendly digital environment.

The redevelopment process involved upgrading the site to a current version of WordPress, ensuring compatibility with new plugins and features. Moving forward, our team will continue to ensure the website stays up-to-date, avoiding the need for a complete rebuild for the foreseeable future.

3. Accessibility

The Hampton Bays Public Library also serves a large population that counts Spanish as their primary language. In the past, the library maintained a separate section of their website dedicated to serving content in Spanish for these users to browse. This approach created a number of maintenance headaches and usability issues, and resulted in an inferior user experience for native Spanish speakers.

In the new website, we incorporated features to make the entire website available to users in the language of their choice. Library staff has the ability to manually translate content, or have the system automatically translate it for them, to ensure all content posted on the site is available in both English and Spanish.

The site will automatically determine a user’s language preference based on their browser settings, and serve content in that language by default. Users can also manually change the language they want to view the site in.

This is all handled in a way that is optimized for search engines so search results can also be served in the language of the user’s choice and search result links will direct to the correct version of the site.

4. Privacy & Security

In the digital age, privacy and security are paramount. With the library’s commitment to safeguarding patron information, Searles Media prioritized the implementation of robust privacy and security measures.

The old website was on a version of WordPress that has long been out of support and contained a number of security holes. Additionally, the security of many of the existing plugins had also been compromised.

By updating the site to the latest versions (and maintaining them there), and eliminating third party plugins from all but the most trusted developers, we were able to eliminate the known security issues with the current site.

Additionally, we incorporated an SSL certificate to encrypt any information transferred between the user’s browser and the website, thereby protecting the data integrity and confidentiality. Free SSL certificates are a standard practice for all of the websites we host.

5. Ongoing Support & Training

Post-launch, Searles Media didn’t just hand over the keys and walk away. We ensured that the library staff were comfortable with their new website and its functionalities. Through comprehensive on-site and remote training sessions, we empowered the staff to update and maintain their site confidently, with the reassurance that our team would be available for support when needed.

We also continue to maintain and support the core website and associated plugins, perform advanced design and updates upon request, and ensure the website performs optimally and continues to deliver a quality user experience.

The Outcome

The launch of the redesigned Hampton Bays Public Library website marked a new era for the library’s digital presence. Patrons now enjoy a user-friendly, responsive site where they can easily access the library’s resources from any device, while the staff can confidently manage and update the site.

With enhanced privacy and security measures, users can trust their data is secure, further cementing the library’s position as a trusted community hub.

Searles Media is proud to have partnered with the Hampton Bays Public Library for this project, leading to a win-win outcome for the library, its staff, and the community it serves.

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