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Why is the A-Z no longer available on the library website?

By Robert Drinkall, on 13 November 2018

Since the library website moved to Drupal last week, we’ve had some queries about why there’s no A-Z index any more.

To answer this question, we discussed the A-Z with ISD Digital Presence staff during the migration project, and they don’t consider using an A-Z to index the content of a site to be good practice because:

  • It’s limited (there is no space for teasers or explanation of link titles as with standard web content)
  • It’s not that intuitive especially for new users of the website – they need to first know the names of services/content areas in order to find them
  • It adds a layer of duplication to web content management processes and the duplication of navigation can cause confusing user journeys for website end-users
  • Not being intrinsically linked to the structure of the site means that broken links can be a common problem
  • It’s not something that Drupal could support at the moment and for the reasons outlined above we don’t have plans to do this

So, for these reasons, I’m afraid the A-Z is no longer available.

If there are particular pages you visit regularly, we recommend using browser bookmarks / favourites instead. Please do also feel free to highlight any areas of navigation you were using the A-Z for especially (via lib-websupport@ucl.ac.uk), so we can take these into account during any future redesign process.



4 Responses to “Why is the A-Z no longer available on the library website?”

  • 1
    Andrew Watson wrote on 13 November 2018:

    Oh dear, ISD staff telling Librarians they don’t need indexes sounds rather alarming! Indexing is what is what makes librarians so good at finding things and indexing things for users helps them do the same.

  • 2
    Spiros Philippas wrote on 13 November 2018:

    That’s really unfortunate and ill-judged. Front of line staff like myself and other colleagues rely on the A-Z list when dealing with phone or in-person queries. Users often can find what they are looking on the A-Z list, especially those whose English is not their first language and they many not have the right word for what they are after – the A-Z list can provide them with the correct search term/word. Please reconsider and consult those who rely on the A-Z (and other features) before announcing to colleagues that it’s no longer useful because it is.

  • 3
    Susannah B wrote on 13 November 2018:

    As a new library assistant, I have so far found the A-Z list invaluable in finding what I need. The comment that “It’s not that intuitive especially for new users of the website” is thus wholly invalid.

  • 4
    Robert Drinkall wrote on 23 November 2018:

    Hi all. Thanks for this feedback, and we’ll be inviting colleagues to feedback further in the near future to inform a review of the website.

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