Because the resources and services that academic libraries provide are complicated, their websites risk becoming convoluted and foreboding to users. The challenge is to communicate without overwhelming them; to make websites that are usable. But what is that even like? If research is so hard to do, does that mean it has to be hard to communicate?
I will present the development of the John S. Bailey library website during the period 2011-2013 and our attempts — both successful and not so successful — to improve its usability. I will discuss the UX best practices that informed our strategies during this period, including: introducing LibGuides as a main vehicle for our online presence, our iterative development schedule, informal user testing, use of web analytics and so on. In conclusion I will discuss that the usable library website is one with emphasis on learnability over ease-of-use and effectiveness rather than efficiency.