Enhance your on-line presence with the free Bootcamp Construct a Higher Library web site

The New Jersey State Library (NJSL) recently created an online course, Build a better boot camp for the library website, which focuses on how to better plan, test, implement, and update library websites. The Bootcamp is one of many learning opportunities on the library-oriented course platform WebJunction and was funded by a Scholarship 2020 from the LYRASIS Catalyst Fund.

The multidisciplinary team that created the bootcamp, led by project manager Andrea Levandowski, wanted to create a space that can help demystify the website world by translating the fundamentals of topics like User Experience (UX) design into a clear , guided format will be discussed. The bootcamp is free and self-paced, so those who want to learn more about the intricacies of website design and management can immerse themselves in the course material without time limits.

A success-story

The new boot camp was designed based on the personal NJSL UX Boot Camp in 2019. This previous training course spanned several weeks in which small groups of participants provided information on how to make their library website more informative and how to properly analyze their library website in an audit. Those who participated in this previous boot camp found immense value in the material covered. Kevin Ruppel of the South Brunswick Public Library said after attending the 2019 boot camp: “[my] The next steps were 100% shaped by the boot camp. Before, I was a bit aimless about what to do and only improved small things here and there. This boot camp allows [me] to focus on the important aspects of redesigning the website and be more focused in my endeavors. “

If you’ve attended the NJSL UX Boot Camp (or have done something similar in the past), the Bootcamp Build a Better Library website should still be something you want to check out. Levandowski tells me that the new course has expanded the content related to website accessibility. “During the NJSL UX Boot Camp, we found that this was an area of ​​interest to participants, but the curriculum didn’t include anything more than very basic content,” she says. “I suspect there may be individuals who sign up for the course just to learn more about website accessibility because it’s such an important topic.”

Learn the basics

The Bootcamp comprises eight modules that must be completed in order to receive a Certificate of Completion: Introduction to UX, Visual Design Principles, Prototyping & Testing, Layout & Images, Website Navigation, Accessibility, Web Technology and Project Management. These modules present a variety of materials – from user testing to adding media to your library website – in an easy-to-understand format. At the end of the boot camp, the course offers a final project; It is not necessary to complete the final project to receive the certificate.

Each module contains one or more interactive experiences that users can participate in, called Explore, Activity, or Home Improvement. The Explore experiences highlight different sections of a website to show what has been successfully implemented and what could be updated. The activity experiences help solidify key topics for participants through interactive visual guides. For example, an activity in the Web Technology module instructs participants to identify the differences between WordPress and Squarespace in a drag-and-drop application. The DIY experiences provide guided guides to help you review your own library website for any improvements that need to be made, and give you a chance to instantly apply new concepts learned in bootcamp.

The boot camp is specified on WebJunction with a duration of 4–8 hours. If the participants prefer to immerse themselves in a specific topic instead of completing the entire course, the team has planned that, says Levandowski: “[T]The course does not have to be approached linearly. In our discussions, we’ve found that people want to focus on specific sections, go back to things, and skip parts. While a learner would have to read through each section and complete all activities to receive a certificate, the course itself is a reference that can be used in any convenient way. “

The future of your website

Levandowski suggests that after completing the bootcamp, consider training that is specifically tailored for the platform or hosting service that your library is already working with. However, you may not have to leave Bootcamp looking for more information. Although there are no concrete plans to update or expand the current content, Levandowski mentions that “in the next year or so I will be looking into a procedure to regularly review and update the course.”

In addition, Levandowski hopes to mimic the personal experience by having more connections between the bootcamp participants in the future. “A lot of that [NJSL UX] Boot Camp was… discussion-based, “she says,” and they shared their favorite websites, discussed their own websites, and opened up about the problems they faced while redesigning the website. It’s impossible to [re-create] this experience online in a meaningful way. ”WebJunction suggested creating a specific guide for the Bootcamp Build a Better Library website so that groups could receive course-specific information to help them build a personal learning experience alongside the online course. It is something that I will pursue because I think it is so important that the participants share their experiences directly and learn from one another. “

With the new bootcamp that offers knowledge and support, Levandowski sees a brighter future for library websites: “[M]Smaller libraries do not have dedicated staff with the expertise to improve their sites, even if they know something is wrong or they are interested in fixing it. The Bootcamp Build a Better Library website is designed to help these library staff become more confident, learn skills to guide them to solutions, and work with others (either in-house or with consultants) to build better websites. “

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