A colleague forwarded an email announcing that the Cochrane Library has launched a “new and improved website,” that includes “improved navigation”, “mobile optimization”, “better browsing”, and “Integrated access to Anywhere Systematic Review”. After about an hour of browsing the site, here are my initial impressions:
- The home page, which our patrons rarely see, is updated and device-friendly. The navigation is large and clear, and the main content’s 3-tab layout is interesting. I like that it labels items that are Open Access with the OA icon.
- The home page has a number of accessibility issues, including empty & missing headings, and lack of ‘alt’ text for images. Shortcomings such as these imply that little or no accessibility testing was conducted, which is to be expected by the weak standards currently written into law.
- The new color scheme uses eye-catching colors, which will annoy some long-time users, while others will find it a refreshing change.
- The button-like tags use full words, e.g. “New search” instead of “Ns”, with only the left edge colored-in. New users now don’t have to find the “Key” to know what they mean. But as of this writing, this change only applies to items found when starting from the new site. The old site still uses the original color scheme. It was not clear from the email that this was a Beta site.
- Users can now browse by topic or Review Group. Browsing also highlights a number of special collections, “selected Cochrane Reviews and other external sources to provide a useful evidence overview on an important healthcare topic”, such as malaria prevention, hospital acquired infections, tuberculosis and others.
- The footer section (“Wiley Online Library”) is unchanged, and still has too many links grouped too closely together. And the company name hangs off the page when viewed on an iPhone and iPad.
The search functionality is still the same invaluable resource that researchers, healthcare practitioners, faculty, students and librarians have come to depend on. Despite the changes that will annoy some, the sooner these improvements can be implemented, the better.