Prefab: The Library Website Service

A colleague of mine recently brought this site to my attention:

Prefab is a ready-made library website template.  According to the Prefab site, the design of this template is based on years of library user research.

Here is some additional information about this service:

  • Prefab will host the site for its clients
  • Libraries can integrate their ILS services on a Prefab site
  • Libraries can keep their original URL/domain name
  • Prefab sites work on desktop and mobile devices, including tablets
  • It comes with 6 color options, and libraries can use their own logo
  • Libraries can customize colors and layouts with CSS
  • Prefab sites are built in WordPress (interesting…)
  • Prefab offers e-mail and phone support, back-end training, and domain set-up assistance
  • The initial set-up costs $1,500 and then it’s $500 each year

Overall, Prefab sounds very intriguing.  Prefab might be a promising service for libraries seeking to design and host their website on a budget. Many of Prefab’s features are enticing, but there are some potential pitfalls.  I’m mostly concerned about Prefab’s support, including ongoing training and troubleshooting; it’s difficult to gauge how robust and responsive this support will truly be for clients. Another concern is the possibility of a Prefab site looking too similar to other Prefab library sites; although Prefab claims that “there’s no disadvantage if your site shares similar design elements with other libraries,” I’m inclined to disagree.  It’s very important to distinguish your site (and, ultimately, your organization) from others.  However, Prefab clearly states that a library can differentiate its site by implementing unique logos, graphics, and CSS for colors.

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About intelligentuxdesign

I am the Assessment and User Experience Librarian at the University of Dayton Libraries. I am a graduate of Kent State University, where I received a Master of Library and Information Science degree in August 2011 and a Master of Science degree in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management with a concentration in User Experience Design in May 2012. My professional interests include usability, user experience design, information architecture, visual and information design, human-computer interaction, information technologies, and outreach services.
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