Building a community
State Library of Western Australia
More than a collection of resources and information.
The State Library of Western Australia is a research, reference and public lending library located in the Perth Cultural Centre.
Libraries are one of the great enduring human institutions. They bring people, information and ideas together, preserve our heritage and help us discover new knowledge. Nowadays, they need to be integrated digital services that engage the community by providing access to research, education and culture.
The challenge for libraries going digital is the sheer quantity of their content.
Clear pathways lead to happy readers.
It was a collaborative effort to analyse, categorise and restructure the content of the website in line with user expectations, in a more intuitive format as well as meet the library's responsibilities as a heritage archive. Specific pathways lead to information and resources for particular interests and a prominent search bar to the online catalogue supports the less certain visitor. This helps alleviate library staff admin and reduces the time spent answering queries about the website and content searches. The new content structure is reinforced through the use of colour, as each section can be identified through the library's brand pallet. Several new functional items were also added, such as a custom events calendar and an integrated catalogue search.
The whole digital service aligns with strict accessibility guidelines so it is universally accessible. This means all users can access the website with assistive tools.
This multi-functional institution had to change its course – and turn its internally driven website into a digital service that its visitors can navigate easily.
The Library has particular responsibility for collecting and preserving Western Australia's documentary heritage and has a very large archive of documents, images, artefacts and books available to the public. The website is the popular tip of the iceberg, where visitors can use the catalogue as a starting point for research or general reading. Over the years multiple editors and no structured approach to content upload caused the old website to become cluttered and difficult to navigate.