Harris County Public Library

Providing immersive online browsing and an integrated account dashboard for more than a million library patrons

2M

Harris County citizens using I.F. technology

641K+

Searchable online catalog items

35

Library branches in the system

Special Features:
Drupal 8

Drupal 8

Fulcrum Hosting

Fulcrum Hosting

3rd Party Integrations

3rd Party Integrations

Advanced Events

Advanced Events

Book Rivers

Book Rivers

Geolocation

Geolocation

One of the nation’s largest library systems, Harris County Public Library serves nearly two million library card holders at over two dozen branch libraries. But our research found that half of their patrons only visited the library online. Harris County Public Library wanted to make their online experience more like the welcoming, enticing experience of walking into a physical branch. They needed help to simplify their navigation, streamline their site maintenance, and manage a hefty schedule of events, all while ensuring broad accessibility of their resources and information. 

A better browsing experience with streamlined account access 

We started by detangling Harris County Public Library's complex information architecture to give visitors four simple choices at the highest level: Explore, Events, Services, or About. To bring the brick-and-mortar browsing experience online, I.F. developed a Netflix-style “river” display for library assets. This dynamic presentation invites users to sift through options online as they would in the library stacks instead of bouncing between multiple search tools. The resulting functionality also gave the library a head-start when it came to providing online access during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Our account management solution enables Harris County Public Library patrons to check out, renew, place holds, and pay fines without the use of any external software subscriptions. The result is a streamlined experience for users. And with fewer backend platforms to manage, the library also benefits from easier maintenance and cost savings. 

To ensure that every library patron has equal access to all that Harris County Public Library has to offer, we also conducted extensive accessibility auditing to ensure compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). 

Success factors

  • Engaging “book river” browsing interface
  • Support for voice search and other enhanced search features
  • Simplified top-level navigation
  • Robust account management tools
  • Streamline back-end platforms
  • Top-tier accessibility 

Innovation in action: Managing a complex events calendar 

Our research showed that the library’s calendar of events was a frequent pain point for users, with below-average satisfaction and task completion rates for mobile users in particular. We eliminated the need for a third-party system by implementing our custom Drupal Recurring Events Module. This robust, tailored solution lets Harris County Public Library easily create one-time and recurring events, customize registration and communications for attendees, and painlessly manage event waitlists. In addition, it works flawlessly on mobile and tablet devices.