A strong navigation on your school library website is important for learners. Learners can easily move around the library site from finding a book, locating a database, or finding directions to cite a source. As discussed in previous posts, making the school library website user-friendly is important to our role.
Earlier posts included several components.
User Friendly and Learner-Centered: Using feedback from our learners to update a school library website.
Layout: Layout of important items on a page and how to improve the layout for users.
Vocabulary: Using key terms that users recognize.
Bringing the ideas from the previous posts, we can create a navigation bar placed in an easily identifiable location on the site with keywords recognizable to learners. The navigation bar can be found at the top of the page or under the logo. For the example below, I chose to place the navigation bar at the top. It is available on each page of the website.
First, organize your school library website using sticky notes to list all the pages. For example, I created sticky notes that included books (library catalog), databases (sources), citation guides, database passwords, library hours, class project pages, 3D printer directions, and more.
As shown in the image below, I organized the sticky notes by categories. The 3D printer directions went into a “stuff” category with the Cricut, and laser cutter information. I combined post-its from the library catalog page, genre pages, and favorite reads page into a “books” category. A research category contained the online databases, citing sources, and other research tools.
Categories to Navigation
Analyze the main categories. What are the main categories? Are there any outliers or pages that do not fit a category? Are these categories the most important part of your page? Do you use the user-friendly categories to help learners find what they need?
The categories can now become the navigation for the school library site. Don’t forget to add the home page in your navigation bar. The navigation should appear on every page, making it easy for users to return home or to the previous page.
Resources for creating a navigation bar are listed below. Depending on the website host, you can create a navigation bar using different tools.
How to create a navigation bar: W3Schools provides free tutorials to set up a navigation bar.
How to Add a Navigation Menu in WordPress: directions for setting up a navigation bar in a common website service, WordPress
Reduce Effort, Not Clicks, For a Better UX: Ideas for creating an organized site.
Author: Becca Munson
Becca Munson, Librarian, is a National Board Certified Teacher with over 24 years of experience in education. Becca is the Coordinator for Library Systems in the Blue Valley School District. Previously, she was school librarian at Blue Valley West High School. She opened two buildings in Blue Valley and spent some time as an Ed Tech Specialist before returning to libraries. Becca supports over 45 librarians and support staff as they work to fulfill the mission of flexible scheduling, collaboration, and literacy.