Website Kits

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 Are you ready to improve your library's website?

Read Website Kit testimonials here

Is your library ready to replace its outdated site with something that:

  • Looks more professional?
  • Is easier to manage and doesn't require a tech?
  • Meets current standards for handicapped accessibility?
  • Displays clearly across mobile devices?
  • Provides advanced features?
  • Presents your library to your community as a strong, credible institution?

OPLIN is pleased to offer Ohio's public libraries  Website Kits, a service that provides all of these features and more at a modest cost.  We understand that, in these budget-strapped times, it is more important than ever for public libraries to show their communities that they are vital and trustworthy institutions that can provide the same advanced features as other kinds of sites.  We also know that library staff have even less time to manage their websites.  OPLIN's  Website Kits offer a host of options for little investment of time and funds. 

 

Why would your library want an OPLIN Website Kit?

  • The kit includes a full content management system (CMS).  This means that library staff can control the entire content of the site without needing anyone to change back end code.  It's as simple as writing an email or filling out an online form!  Create new pages with a few clicks.  Post news stories to your front page with no technical knowledge required. The Website Kit makes managing your library's web site simple...finally!
  • Even the basic version has extra features.  Want an RSS feed?  A WYSIWYG editor for your content?  Want to be able to attach PDF files? The ability to share content out easily with social networks?  All of these are featured in the basic, fixed-cost package and many add-ons are also available for a small cost.
  • More advanced features.  The kit also can provide:
    • Built-in site search AND the ability to search your library's catalog AND the Ohio Web Library;
    • Ability to categorize your events easily by keywords (and filter your event calendar that way)
    • An online contact form that can send to different email addresses, depending on the subject matter;
    • A Word-like WYSIWYG editor for entering your content, so you don't have to know any code to put your items online;
    • Function to upload and attach documents like PDFs to specific web pages;
    • Ability to easily post clearly visible emergency closing notices;
    • Custom database listings that make it easy for your patrons to see what research databases your library has and what they do;
    • Automatically generated printer-friendly pages;
    • Responsive web design, so your site renders cleanly across devices;
    • A calendar and event listing system;
    • Upcoming events block that auto-fills with your events;
    • Direct integration with Google Analytics, to help your library see how your site is being used by its visitors.
    • Access to the Website Kit Module Market, where you can order add-ins, both free and premium, to your site
  • We do the upgrades for you. Don't have a tech?  No worries!  OPLIN not only hosts your site, but we do all of the required upgrades as needed to the site's systems.
  • We do the graphics work for you.  Each basic kit includes: (Additional custom work can be arranged for an additional cost. Please contact OPLIN for details.)
    • Custom design of the header banner, including your logo if desired
    • Customizing of colors of text, footer, side blocks and calendar
    • Inclusion of a rotating database ad banner at footer of homepage
    • Custom favicon
  • Meets basic web accessibility standards. Website kits typically meet standards for Section 508 and WCAG AA-AAA.. (Some third-party widgets and/or custom scripting requests may not be able to meet these standards.)
  • Free training.  We provide up to 3 hours of free, hands-on training for at least one staff person at the OPLIN office.  We also provide online documentation and additional phone support at no extra charge.  (Additional training for up to 20 people on-site at your library is also available; please inquire for pricing.)
  • Free guidance during the design process.  Our professionally-certified web designer staff will help you with incorporating basic usability and good design principles.
  • No tech required.  OPLIN does the installation, the design, the configuration and the hosting.  All your library has to do is plug in its content.
  • Lots of options.  For a small fee, many useful add-ons are available for your Kit. Ask us if you need special functionality--we're able to accommodate many common requests!

PRICING

OPLIN's pricing is modest.  Our goal is to provide Ohio's public libraries with websites that can better meet the needs of both patrons and staff and be competitive in the rapidly-evolving environment of the World Wide Web.  The cost of your Website Kit will be $795 for initial setup (original design and up to two revisions). Annual maintenance and upgrades cost $360 per year. (Please note:  As of January 1, 2016, OPLIN will not support versions of Internet Explorer except for 11.) Please see the list, above, for a description of all the features included in a standard Website Kit. Limited customization and graphic design service is also available; please call toll-free 1-888-96-OPLIN (1-888-966-7546) for pricing. For information about more extensive customization, including using designs not created by OPLIN, see Custom Websites for Libraries.

Note: Website Kits are intended to use limited server space, storing only the files needed to provide the public with information about the library and its services. To keep prices low and prevent website kit servers from reaching capacity, each website kit is allocated no more than 1 GB of file space, which is sufficient for even very large library websites. Images of library events, etc, should be optimized to stay within this limit or should be stored on another server provided by the library.

TIMELINE

As you might suspect, completion time varies depending on the specifications laid out during the planning stage. Don't hesitate to call us for further discussion of what a timeline for your library's site might be. But we're ready to get rolling with your library's site!

Service objectives:

  • Incident Response: OPLIN staff will respond within one hour to malfunctions of Dynamic Website Kits during regular business hours Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding State of Ohio holidays. Contact us through the OPLIN Support site.
  • Incident Resolution: OPLIN staff will attempt to resolve every Dynamic Website Kits malfunction within 4 business hours of Incident Response.

 

Who hosts the website?

We host your website on the OPLIN web servers. That allows us to keep all the software that runs the site up-to-date and secure. Our hosting service includes:

  • Firewall to protect the site against intrusion
  • Regular upgrades to software used to maintain and publish the site
  • Upgrades to server hardware when advantageous
  • Retaining current web site domain name
  • Pro-active fixes for network, system and software vulnerabilities
  • Mirroring of server hard drives to allow quick recovery from hardware failures
  • Problem resolution through the OPLIN Support Center

Will the web address of my website change?

No. When your site is ready, we will replace your current site at the same address. So if your current site address is mylibrary.org, your new site address will also be mylibrary.org.

How will I know how to use the website?

We ask each library that uses one of our websites to send some selected staff to our office in Columbus for two or three hours of training. The next step is for you to begin adding content to your site before it goes "live" on the Internet. Throughout this process we are available to assist you. Finally, when you are confident that your site is ready and you know how to keep it current, we launch it.

What if I have problems later?

Contact us (http://support.oplin.org) and we will work with you to resolve the problem.

What is usability and why does it matter?

The most basic definition of web site usability is whether or not users can quickly accomplish a given task on a website without obstacles.  Obstacles can be long download times, scattered navigation, poor design, dated styles and many more issues, all of which can affect how users access your site and/or perceive your library.

Many of the web sites developed by public libraries do not adhere to web design standards or best practices. When Laura Solomon did a study (PDF) of Ohio public library websites in 2004, she found that only 17% of Ohio libraries met more than 80% of accepted criteria for usability. As new devices for accessing the Internet, such as the iPhone and other such smartphones, become more prevalent, it will become ever more critical for public libraries to have well-designed and mobile web sites. OPLIN can help by fulfilling an original purpose – enabling libraries to compete with other Internet information providers – in a new way, focusing on building good library web sites as well as building good library Internet connections.

Website Kits--Selected Portfolio

**Map of all OPLIN Website Kit Clients**

 

Meigs County District Public Library

Old Site                                                                                                                                                               New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minerva Public Library

Old Site                                                                                                                                                               New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brown County Public Library

Old Site                                                                                                                                                               New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hubbard Public Library

Old Site                                                                                                                                                               New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

Putnam County District Library

Old Site                                                                                                                                                               New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

McKinley Memorial Library

Old Site                                                                                                                                                               New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

Euclid Public Library

Old Site                                                                                                                                                               New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piqua Public Library

Old Site                                                                                                                                                               New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orrville Public Library

Old Site                                                                                                                                                               New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norwalk Public Library

Old Site                                                                                                                                                               New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

Troy-Miami County Public Library

Old Site                                                                                                                                                               New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marion Public Library

Old Site                                                                                                                                                               New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Website Kit documentation

NOTE: You can make this manual fullscreen (corners icon) or download it for printing (down arrow icon).

OPLIN Website Kit Manual

Custom Websites for Libraries

The OPLIN Website Kits depend on a standardized software installation and design template that allows us to keep the cost low. We do offer limited customization, but some changes "break" our standardized model. For example:

  • in-house changes that break W3C standards compliance;
  • changes that require modifications to a standard Drupal module or the Drupal code;
  • changes that require any special server configuration; and
  • changes that require custom scripting that accesses web resources outside of OPLIN's control.

When a library customer requests such changes, we suggest that it consult with an outside vendor.  OPLIN is not able to accommodate these types of development needs.

Working with third-party designs

When a library requests that OPLIN use a design created by the library or by an outside designer/vendor, the implementation is charged at the hourly rate and as an additional fee.  While we will implement outsourced designs, they typically increase work time in constructing custom CSS files, re-working graphics to work with the Drupal theme template and communications required between OPLIN and the third-party designer.  This can increase a library's cost considerably.

How to make your website process easier

 

 
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How to Make Your Website Kit Process Easier
 

 
  1. Ditch “design by committee.” As tempting as it is to have a team of some sort, in our experience, this almost always leads to either delays and/or disasters. You can never make everyone happy! Feel free to gather your staff’s input prior to your first phone call with Laura, but we strongly recommend that only 1-2 (MAYBE 3) people from your library should be involved in the actual phone conference. Because it is difficult to please everyone, typical Web Kit projects that are managed by committees tend not to only run longer, but can be more expensive because of constant revisions. To save your library time and money, designate 1-2 people to be in charge of the process and who can step in to make a decision as needed.
     
  2. Remind your staff who the site is for. In our experience, library staff doesn’t always recognize that the primary (and only) audience for a public website is the public! Attempts to include resources specifically for the reference desk or to organize content just so it’s easier for the staff will generally be opposed by OPLIN. Remind your staff, when seeking input, that patrons not only come first, but are the entire audience for your new site.
     
  3. Filter the input from your staff. If you are collecting suggestions from your staff, please filter the list (or have your designated liason/leader do so) to just those things that are things you would actually consider. For example, if a staff person suggests that the site should primarily be orange and the library’s branding scheme is primarily blue, remove this from the list. It will save a great deal of time for everyone involved.
     
  4. Changes to an approved site architecture will cost money.  The site architecture is typically the first step in planning your new Website Kit. Once your library has signed off on that, any changes will incur additional charges, at the custom work rate.  Keep this in mind when you are looking at the first design draft; changes to the top level navigation or side blocks, for instance, after the approval was already signed, will increase your library's cost.  This is why it is important to make sure you're happy with the architecture, before you sign it.
     
  5. Remember that your library gets three (3)  design drafts—total. Although this is almost always mentioned in the initial call with OPLIN (and is on our website, too), it’s worth mentioning again. As part of the standard Website Kit, your library gets 3 design drafts—total. Beyond that, the custom rate is charged per hour of work. Asking for a sample website in your color scheme will be counted as one of the drafts, as will any tweaks requiring the creation of a new image. If you’re not sure what will be counted, please ask! We’d much rather save you the money.
     
  6. Outside design work is charged at the hourly rate.  Please remember that,  if OPLIN does not do the design, it is considered to be custom work and will be charged at the hourly rate for implementation and as an additional fee.  While we will implement outsourced (or library in-house) designs, they typically increase work time in constructing custom CSS files, re-working graphics to work with the Drupal theme template and communications required between OPLIN and the third-party designer. 
     
  7. Don’t use print copies of the design drafts to make decisions.   When you get a design prototype from OPLIN, it can be very tempting to print it out to show to other staff. However, most printers automatically scale things to fit the paper. This means that you will not see it in the same way you will see it on a computer monitor. Be sure to pull up the .jpg OPLIN sends you in a browser so you can see it on your monitor!
     
  8. Understand that part of OPLIN’s job is to educate. We focus strongly on current best practices in usability and accessibility, as well as site navigation and site design. If we veto something, we’ll always explain WHY and often provide you with third-party resources where you can learn more about current standards.  
     

 

Testimonials

  • "I also want to take a minute to thank you for all your help with this website.  You have taken a big portion of my job and turned it from drudgery to so much fun!   I also don't have to spend enormous amounts of time editing and messing around with a nasty, cantankerous dinosaur anymore. ...I have to say that I'm extremely excited about the new site.  It makes me feel good.  It's simple, clear, concise, has all the necessary info and is really easy and fun to learn and work with!"--Grafton-Midview Public Library
     
  • "We're looking forward to having a more responsive site for our library and community.  Your help has been appreciated."--Milton-Union Public Library
     
  • We are so pleased with how smooth the website transition has gone! We really haven't had any significant difficulties today. Yay! Thanks so much for all your work and such prompt responses to everything that has come up."--Orrville Public Library
     
  • “ OPLIN WEBKITS ROCK!”— Granville Public Library
     
  • "I have just been visiting Web sites of a number of libraries across the country. It just reinforces what a great job you did on our new Web site. It looks beautiful, it reflects the atmosphere of our community, and it functions well. (And it doesn’t take 15 minutes for people to find our phone number!)"--Wright Memorial Public Library
     
  • "The work estimate is right on target.”— Marion Public Library>
     
  • "BULLSEYE!  I love it, Laura!" & "By the way, the dynamic webkit was the best thing we ever did! Just love our site. Thank you." --Tuscarawas County Public Library
     
  • "It looks wonderful!!!"--Logan-Hocking County District Library
     
  • "Love it…perfect…"--Harbor-Topky Memorial Library>
     
  • Thanks so much for everything. We are all extremely appreciative and pleased. You were a true pleasure to work with."--New Carlisle Public Library  

 

Module Market

Color-coded Calendar

Want to make your website's event calendar easier to visually sort?  With calendar color-coding, you can assign specific colors to a specific type or age group of events. The colors show up as color bands at the top of the event title/link.  

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FREE: No cost to add to your Website Kit!

Database Display

Frustrated with trying to display and organize all of your library's research databases? Even if you have access to databases individually or through a consortium, this display allows you to put them all into one, organized display that makes finding what patrons need a snap.

  • Your entries are automatically organized alphabetically
  • Users can easily see all of the databases in a given category
  • You provide the description, URL and a small screenshot of the database. The display does the rest!

Categories are pre-set by the display.  However, you can place any database in up three (3) different categories.

Free: No cost to add this feature to your Website Kit.

 

Drop-down Menus

One of the most popular premium features of OPLIN's Dynamic Website Kits! Our drop-down menus include the following features:

  • Customized color scheme to match your website
  • Section 508 compliant 
  • Site administrator(s) at your library can change and re-arrange sub-levels at will

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Free: No cost to add this feature to your Website Kit.

Emergency Notice

This feature allows you to, quickly and easily, create a brief, clearly-visible notice that will appear near the top of your Website Kit as needed. Great for:

  • Emergency closures
  • Maintenance issues
  • Internet issues
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Free: No cost to add this feature to your Website Kit.

Evanced Events Importer

Have a Signup account with Evanced? Your Website Kit can directly import event data from your library's account, and populate your site's calendar with that data!  This also makes your library's events directly searchable through your website: patrons don't have to go to a third-party site to search for desired events. OPLIN will also do custom link configuration to allow users to go to each individual event's URL for registration from the Website Kit.

NOTE: Your library must have a subscription to Evanced's Signup Service.

Premium: $300.00  Includes security patches, custom link configuration and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)
 

Office Hours

This nifty add-on allows you to change the open/closed hours as needed (especially handy if your hours are part of your library's design template),  and  it automatically shows whether your library/branch is open or closed, based on the current time. Separate instances for each of your library's locations are included in the price.

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Premium: $300.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

Photo Gallery

Create albums and upload photos. Include captions and descriptions. Galleries can be expanded or opened in a new window.  

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Premium: $300.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

Rotating Banner (Carousel)

One of the most popularly-request modules, the Rotating Banner (Carousel) module allows you to have a rotating set of images on your websites's homepage (or other page, if you prefer) with embedded links.  Libraries desiring this feature need to be able to create their own high-quality graphics.

  • Users can click any image and go to any URL you specify for that image
  • Carousels can contain 1-5 different images (five is the maximum recommended by usability experts)
  • Includes previous/next and individual slide navigation

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Premium: $300.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

Scheduler

This feature allows any content you specify to be published and/or unpublished automatically, on any date you specify.

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Premium: $300.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

Site Map

This feature automatically generates a site map for your site's users, based on your published content. Includes links to all listed content and RSS feeds for many specific areas that users can subscribe to. Also helps your site to be more SEO (Search Engine Optimization)-friendly, so that search engines, such as Google, can more easily index and rank your site and content.

Premium: $300.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

Website Audit

(NOTE: A Website Audit may be requested a maximum of twice per calendar year, per client library.)

Wondering if your site is up to snuff? Does it still meet accessibility standards? Do images meet best practices? Is your site too slow? Is your site's content using current guidelines? We'll check all of this, and more, at no charge to your library.  A detailed, written report will be sent to you, describing any found issues and what needs to happen to fix them.

Free: No cost to add this feature to your Website Kit.

Website Kit Refresher

Have a new staff person to train, or just need some reminders about how to use the administration functions of your library's Website Kit? This is a one-hour training over the phone, using TeamViewer software (we'll help you with getting that for the training). We can either do a general refresher, or you can use the time to ask specific questions.

Free: No cost to add this feature to your Website Kit.

eMedia Display

**NOTE: Your Website Kit must already have the Database Display module installed before this module can be ordered.**

Frustrated with trying to display and organize all of your library's eMedia resources? Even if you have access to this type of resource individually or through a consortium, this display allows you to put them all into one, organized display that makes finding what patrons need a snap.

  • Your entries are automatically organized alphabetically
  • Users can easily see all of the resources in a given category
  • You provide the description, URL and a small screenshot or logo of the resource. The display does the rest!
Categories are pre-set by the display.  However, you can place any database in an unlimited number of different categories.

Module Market Order Form

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The Website Kit Process

Wondering what the process is for getting an OPLIN Dynamic Website Kit? Details, below:

  1. Phone conference. The process starts with a phone conference, generally between OPLIN and one or perhaps two contact people (see http://oplin.ohio.gov/easier for more information about Website Kit liaisons).  We will send you a list of questions to consider beforehand. We'll discuss what you like (or don't like) about your current site, and what you'd like in a new one. We'll also make recommendations based on your needs and goals.  
  2. Cost estimate.  After the phone conference, OPLIN will send you an itemized cost estimate for your project, based on what was discussed in the initial phone conference.  You'll be asked to review and to note any changes.  
  3. Contract.  Once we have a finalized cost estimate, your library will be sent an official contract from the State Library of Ohio. There will be three copies; you will be asked to sign all of them, and return two (2). When these have been received, work on your new Dynamic Website Kit will be in earnest.
  4. Site architecture.  We'll put together a site architecture, which will  map out the hierarchy of your content, based on the phone conference and on the site's existing content.  We'll then ask you to make revisions (such as removing pages no longer used or re-arranging the order of any pages).  OPLIN will review your proposed changes for any potential usability issues. Once we have something we're all happy with, you'll sign an Architecture Approval form. Keep in mind that any changes requested to this architecture,  after signing,  will incur additional charges, with a minimum charge of $150.00.
  5. Design. Based on the specifications laid out in the phone conference and the approved site architecture, OPLIN creates a design prototype (mockup).  We allow up to three drafts; that means that, after the original version, you'll have two (2)  more drafts available for tweaks or changes.
  6. Construction.  This is when OPLIN actually builds your site. 
  7. Review. When the site build is nearly complete, we'll send you a link to it on a test server to look at, and ask you to fill out an approval form for various design elements. Any issues should be noted at that time.
  8. Training. When  all design regions are fixed and approved, we'll schedule training for you and/or your designated staff at the OPLIN office. The training will cover how to input various types of content, as well as any administrative functions native to the site. Training typically takes approximately two (2) hours; we allow up to three (3) as part of your project. 
  9. Launch. Launch occurs when you tell us that all necessary content has been migrated to the new site.  OPLIN will will work with your library to manage any DNS changes for domains related to your website.