I was very happy to see LIANZA launch the new website last week. The old site had been clunky and not very “now”. Like many other librarians who are interested in the Internet and its applications while also being involved in the professional body I have been a little bit frustrated with our Internet presence. So this is a great step forward.
Here are some of my thoughts on the site, which I will also put up there.
I should say upfront that I am not a fan of Drupal. Nearly all sites I have visited powered by Drupal have been a little bit clunky and a little bit buggy.
So what do I think of the new site.
Well on the positive side, I think it looks and feels a lot more like what I would expect of a Professional bodies website in this time. It has that “Social Media” post 2008 feel, with rounded corners and tabs. The blog on the front is great and just what I hoped to see. I like that it has Twitter widget on the front page, and that you can see the latest news, and discussions easily. The navigation is a lot nicer around the site as well. It doesn’t feel as clunky as other Drupal sites I have been to.
On the not so positive and what I would like to see in its ongoing development side of the coin. And I hate to be critical, but:
A small thing, but the Twitter widget doesn’t seem to be updating as I know that the tweet shown is not their latest. And it was on Friday that they last tweeted. It’s a little thing, but I think it is important that if you are going to include those features they need to work so that it is updated regularly.
A larger problem in my eyes is the lack of a “Comments/Moderation” policy. I have looked around and there doesn’t appear to be one spelt out. I know there must be one as I have commented on another users forum post and blog post and my comments where held for moderation. The problem was though there was no message saying that. The comments just disappeared into cyber space. Some else commented on my forum post and they had that problem and ended up posting several times. If you are going to moderate you need to tell the user what is happening.
With the forums: I like the idea and I can see why each group has a separate forum page, but it looks like there is no central place to go. I would like to see a tab on the communities page for the forums, that is a central clearing house of all the posts. A one stop shop. Other wise you have to click into each group you belong too, and then each forum for each group to see what’s new.
Also you don’t seem to be able to edit your own entries.
The other little niggle is as raised by Brian Flattery in the forums. I agree with Brian, in that while I think the intial feel is very “now”, there is a lack of “now” content. And there is a lack of pointing users to the other resources around the block.
And where are the RSS feeds?
I would give the site a A+ for look, but only a B+ for implementation.