The Kitchener Public Library’s Research Initiation Test: Locate Our Hours and Branch Locations!

Last Updated on: 21st April 2015, 09:32 am

Update: all I have to say is, buh? This afternoon, a whole navbar loaded that didn’t load this morning. I know the first link I saw after the title was “home”, which is below the big ol’ navbar that loaded, complete with hours. I still say it needs a place in the quick access dropdown, and maybe the getting a library card section. But still. Buh?

This morning I had quite the experience with a website, and I thought I’d post about it. Maybe it’ll help someone else. Or maybe I can find out that I fail at searching the web. I don’t know, but here we go.

I decided to get a library card in this town, since I kinda live here, duh. Funny story about that. I went to Chapters since I had a Chapters gift card…and I was actually told I’d have better luck getting audio books from the library. Wow! A book store told me to go to the library. Well, they’re honest, and that’s cool.

So I went to get a library card. But I really don’t know where all the libraries are in this town. I know there’s one close to downtown, but I don’t know exactly where it is. I thought it would be super easy to find the branch locations. Hahahahahaha. How about nope?

First I went to the little quick access dropdown thinggy. Surely there’ll be a list of branches in there. Nope.

So I saw a link that said “library cards.” Awesome. I need one of those suckers, and I assume I have to go to the library to get one, so there should be a nice happy link to all their branch locations. Hahahahaha Carin, you naive person you!

So then I filled out the online registration. Over and over, it told me to go visit the library to pick up my permanent card. But never, ever, did they give me the link to a list of branches.

Also, I couldn’t find a nav bar to speak of. The order of the page went from the logo to a bunch of recent titles and programs and stuff, and maybe at the bottom there might have been links that would have been a nav bar. So it’s not like I could have gone through the nav bar looking for this little link.

In desperation, I found the contact us link, and even in the main part where all the contact numbers were, never was there a link to a list of branches.

So in further desperation, I searched for the word “hours.” Ah! Hours and locations! My hero! And the page was beautiful, with lots of wicked info on how to get there, even links to bus routes.

Steve heard my cries of despair, and googled. It took him less time to google it than it did me to stumble around the KPL website. Fail.

Honestly, did that have to be so hard? I could think of a few places where they could have put the link that would have made it super easy to find. One good one would be the quick access dropdown. I dunno, I would think library locations would be something people would want to find quickly. And in all the places on the new library card registration where it says “one of our local branches”, why not make those words a link? If I’m getting a brand spankin’ new library card, I probably don’t know where the library is. Maybe I’m a huge book worm and just moved to town and want my library access pronto. Why not make it easy for me?

The website is pretty good accessibility wise. They have lots of nicely labeled pictures and headings, and I was able to register super easy for my temporary access. But god why did they make it so hard to find the branches?

I probably sound a bit neurotic. But you see, once I get the location of something, right now I have to do a lot of extra research to actually get there. I have to call GRT and ask them for some further info, which means being on hold for a while…and I don’t have heaps of time to be on hold. So any time wasted on just finding the info is super frustrating.

So…am I alone in how much of a struggle it was to find the hours and branch locations? Go to the KPL’s homepage, forget all the things I told you, and tell me how quickly you can locate the branch hours and locations. If you find a faster way, tell me about it. I’d love to know.

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10 Comments

  1. Maybe there’s something that I don’t understand about how the system works, but another way to get those locations onto the registration page would be to ask you to choose where you would like to pick up your new card. At least then you’d have a vague idea of where they were. but yes, links would be much better. Surprised nobody thought of that.

  2. I would much prefer links. When the names of them are things like Country Hills, Forest Heights and Pioneer Park, that really doesn’t give the newb a flaming clue where they’re located. Plus that locations page is so beautiful! Why hide it?

  3. Carin, I’m about to make you feel absolutely brainless. Or, at least, reevaluate your definition of usefully hidden. when I navigate a typical webpage, I pay absolutely no attention to tab order and the like. Actually, even when I’m building my own pages, tab order is usually an afterthought–yeah, I know, this coming from a blind guy what does all manner of geek things, but you’ll have that. So, when I pulled up the KPL, and had about a 5 second boo, I slammed it like I usually do–like your typical standard hurp durp word document. And, after about 1.25 seconds, I found me an hours and locations link (third link from the top of the screen if you’re my display). There was their logo, which is a link, then a list o’ links, which I’m guessing is their navigation bar type dealy. It’s the second one in that list. Actually, if you hadn’t told me the tab order didn’t reflect that, I’d of probably never known the difference (disclaimer: I still have yet to actually test it on my end using the tab order). But if you’re treating it like your average run of the mill document, IE: navigating using the arrows, it fights nicely. Natch, your milage may vary, but if you decide you’ve got 45 seconds free we can compare notes.

  4. I’ll swear on my grandmother’s grave that the first link I saw below the top was home, then catalog, then EBranch. That whole top navbar didn’t load.

    Oh believe me, I don’t tab unless I’m testing for work. I do that for keyboard users, not us. I’m all about the herp derp word document…to the point that I was wondering if I was the only one herp derp wordin’ it up there. I was using NVDA, so maybe it farted on my head, but that’s my only explanation. That! Nav! bar! never! existed.

    1. Count me among the ranks of the hurp durp arrowing internet user. I pretty much never tab unless it’s a site I’m familiar with and for some reason something there works faster that way.

    2. blaming NVDA sounds like an absolutely fantastic idea. Because I swear, on a stack of pancakes, the thing’s right there saying “Hey how’s it going wanna play?”. I do have a portable NVDA kicking about over here if you’d like I should see what it does, but JAWS 14 says “Oh, you wanna see a locations link? Here. Anything else?”.

  5. Sure what the heck. Nighty night JAWS.

    Decided lack of plunkage. It read those links just fine. Hmmm I wonder what was borked on the site…or in my chranium.

  6. Hi Carin,

    Welcome to KPL! I’m sorry to hear that you had such trouble finding our location links – “Hours & Location” are located at the top of our home page in the right corner. If you have suggestions about making our website more compatible with NVDA or JAWS, please don’t hesitate to contact us at askus@kpl.org.

    Enjoy your new library card! We’ve got some terrific online collections you may want to explore, including downloadable e-audiobooks, research databases and Freegal music. Also, you can find more information on KPL’s accessibility services here: http://kpl.org/about/accessibility.html

    Thank-you for sharing your concerns with us.

    Liana Kreamer

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