My turn for the slaughter...

  PurplePenny 21:33 11 Mar 2004

I can't believe I'm doing this! Time for you all to get your own back.

Please would you take a look at the pages I've created of Oxford University Library Services Interlibrary Loan information. The brief was to create a simple FAQ for anyone, anywhere in the world, whether members of the university or not, to find out how to get something on interlibrary loan. It will be read by our own students wanting stuff from elsewhere, and people or libraries from elsewhere wanting stuff from us.

I suggested posting it on here to get an outside view; committee chair agreed, so here it is:

click here

For the moment I'm only concerned with the top level pages. Feel free to look at the individual library pages but they aren't finished.

Don't worry about spelling etc - I share my office with a professional proof reader :-)

Penny (aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!)

  Sir Radfordin 23:57 11 Mar 2004

I think traditionally aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh has been spelt aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ;)

I would make the left column fixed - on a high resolution it becomes a fairly wide blue bar.

From a usability view the titles for the different types of loan (member/non-ou/non member) look more like buttons. Why not make them links? In my mind at least the bits you have as links look more like titles and the bits you have as titles like descriptive text.

Far more information than my Uni have got, but nice to see we only have to pay £2 for a loan! Finally an advantage of not having one to a real uni!

  Forum Editor 00:11 12 Mar 2004

in five minutes Penny.

Two small points occurred to me:

1. The blue nav panel at left seemed slightly too wide to me at just under 25% of the page width. Maybe the layout would be improved if you tightened it up a little?

2. The library list justification would improve if you set it in a table. In order to get the lot on the page you would probably have to make it a four column table - might be worth a try.

Otherwise it all seems good; there's a lot of information there!

  tomleady 10:11 12 Mar 2004

yeah, i think making the left blue column thinner would make it look a bit better.

otherwise you've done well to get all the information on without making it look to overcrowded.


  PurplePenny 12:20 12 Mar 2004

Thanks everyone - you're not just being nice to me are you? You would tell me if it was awful?

Do you all think that the blue column should be a fixed width then - or is it OK being a % but a smaller %?

Sir Rad - I'm interested in your comments on usability because that's been your area of study hasn't it? Do you mean the links in the left panel look like text? That's the house style (as much there is one - I asked for the house style sheet and was told that there wasn't one). Each OULS "area" seems to use different link colours but all based on the Oxford colour scheme of blue and gold and always arranged as a list with no underlines. Take your point about the headings looking like buttons, should I get rid of the "groove" border style and go for a plain yellow border. Are the banner headings too wordy? Should they reflect the wording of the links ("OU members" rather than "Information for members of Oxford University")? There was a lot of discussion as to what each secion should be called then the pages were critised for the fact that the chosen descriptions weren't clear enough so I tried to word them to be as precise as possible.

FE - do you mean to get all the libraries on to one screen without scrolling and have codes and links in separate table columns? I'll give that a go.

Tom - thanks, that's just what I was hoping to do but at first it seemed that it would be impossible because there is just so much info to put over (originally the committee envisaged just one FAQ but it quickly became obvious that different people needed completely different information).

Does the information itself make sense? Are the questions in a logical order? Have I gone overboard on the internal page links (like OULS libraries going to the drop down every time)?

Big question - should the links from the drop down open in new windows? I've only used new windows for pages that go out of my own little empire as accessibility guidelines don't like new windows. I can't find anything in the Univ's own web design guide on the subject but I've noticed that most of the other univ areas don't have any new windows at all.

Taran - I'd be interested in what you think of the yellow on blue - it is the univ colour scheme and it passed the Vischeck test but I'd be interested to know how readable you find it.

Sir Rad (again) - we only charged £2 until recently but the BL charges go up every year and we had a costing exercise done and discovered that we were subsidising the service just a bit too much. Go look at BL charges click here and find out how much your library is *really* paying - you'll be shocked. (I'm not knocking the BL - they provide a service which is the envy of the world and I consider well worth the money.)

Thanks again everyone,

PS At last I can stop feeling guilty for making comments on other people's pages without offering my own for dissection :-)

  tomleady 13:05 12 Mar 2004

i'd make the blue border a fixed percentage.

i had a look on the ox. ac. uk site, then clicked one of the links (admissions), and the left table is fixed.

also, if you wanted it consistent with the rest of the site (under the 'information for' heading on the home page), maybe change your font to match (verdana)


  PurplePenny 14:05 12 Mar 2004

Hi Tom, I should have said before - it isn't the top level univ pages that I'm basing my design on. It is a division of OU called OULS. Even within OULS there are a miriad of styles but these are the pages that my stuff will be to be integrated with (hopefully):

click here


  AndySD 14:29 12 Mar 2004

Hi Penny

Ok so the blue nav panel again on the 192 screen (1280x1024 its way to thick. On the 21" (1600x1200) well!!
The nav bar on the main site is set to 150 try it and see.
But I dont think it will affect to many people.

The Panels "Interlibrary Loan and Document Supply services for members of Oxford University" etc I think should also be links.

On a personal note I think you need more space between the Nav Panel and the text. Also I dont like the yellow mouse over on the links but dont let this bother you.

I would set the link to the University Home Page in the Nav bar to Page to a new window as well as the top link.

But overall its well done. Congrat's


  PurplePenny 14:44 12 Mar 2004

Andy - can I ask which browser you are using? I can't test on IE at work as it doesn't work on any of the PCs in my room (long story and IT don't have an answer) and on NS6, Opera & Moz it has a gap between the blue column and the text. But I looked at it on IE at home ... and no gap :-(

Ah - I get it now - the heading panels should be links... Sir Rad is that what you meant too?

The Univ home page was originally a new page but.... I couldn't bear the [opens in new window] ruining my neat list. I've noticed that several of the other sites don't have a separate link to OU homepage - they just confine the link to the crest. What do people think of that?

  AndySD 15:02 12 Mar 2004

IE 6 (no gap)

In Opera and Netscape 7.1 its got the gap. But still think its a little too close (personal opinion)

As to the chrest yes.

for the sake of making a comment ( because you always so kindly comment on mine) in terms of design i'd only change the blue section on the left to a fixed width as Tom has already suggested.

Overall things seem fairly simple compared to the libraries of the other OU to which I am enrolled, which does lead me to a question: Does Oxford University uniformly abbreviate itself to OU? and does this ever cause confusion?

Good work though Penny

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