Library website gets a ‘responsive’ new look

The P.H. Welshimer Memorial Library has released a design update to its website. The re-design features a crisp new look and improved navigation elements. But the most exciting new feature is the use of what is called “responsive website design.” With responsive web design a site automatically reformats (responds) for optimal viewing on a computer, tablet, or smartphone screen without significant loss of content. The screenshot to the left shows what the site looks like on an iPod touch (click the image to see an enlargement).

The newly designed site went live just after 10 p.m. on Thursday, September 6. The timing is significant. As library director Gary Daught notes, “I don’t know if this was entirely conscious, but it was exactly one year ago, on September 6, 2011, that we launched MCSearch, a remarkable tool that provides a compelling ‘Google-like’ search experience for our users. MCSearch makes the library’s high quality information resources as easy to access as any information search on the open web. Like MCSearch, the site re-design pushes the value of the library and its resources out to our users, whether you’re using a laptop computer, or a smartphone.”

As it happens, the product that drives MCSearch was also recently updated to support responsive display. Consequently, users can make productive use of MCSearch results from their tablet or smartphone.

The site re-design was a collaboration between Gary Daught and librarian assistant Jack Weinbender, with helpful feedback from other library staff. “Yes, we worked out the design elements together. But the coding–the magic that makes this site work–was all Jack’s doing. He did a wonderful job.”