West Vancouver Memorial Library: Serving the Community

  • Arts & Culture
  • Education

The West Vancouver Memorial Library (WVML) opened on November 11, 1950. As a place where writers of all opinions are celebrated and access to information is deemed essential, the WVML was founded on the principle that libraries play a vital role in community-building. With the support of the West Vancouver Memorial Library Foundation, the WVML offers a variety of services, including programs that bring music to the community, classes that support technology skills development and an art gallery that showcases emerging and Indigenous artists. 

the challenge

More than a collection of books

Libraries serve a vast and diverse population so the WVML’s goals for a new website included distinct needs for audiences ranging from youth and adults to parents and seniors, as well as library employees and educators. Within and across these groups, they also wanted to prioritize accessibility, specifically for newcomers to Canada and for people with disabilities.  

To completely re-envision the online experience of the library, it was determined that we would need to conduct a deep exploration of how the public and staff engaged with the site. The WVML team had identified some challenges, including how content was managed, as well as difficulties public users were having with finding information and issues with accessibility in both design and implementation, but we knew that the best way for us to deliver an enhanced site was to listen to the people who used it. 


  • West Vancouver Memorial Library


  • Arts & Culture
  • Education


  • Strategy
  • User Experience
  • Design
  • Development


  • WordPress
 homepage shown on four different device sizes
screenshot of the WVML website depicting different block styles
Kids and teens section shown on a mobile device
Close up detail of the layout style used for featured books
Detail view of English Language learning resources
Detail view of the layout for an event page

the solution

Virtually everything 

We worked with the WVML to understand their audiences first. We engaged in a comprehensive research phase that included user surveys, recordings of user sessions, heatmaps and user testing. The heatmaps were useful because they provided unbiased information about how people navigated the website pages, showing where the most activity was and what people clicked on. The data we collected through research informed our recommendation on the structure of the new site, which we then tested with users to ensure it would be easy to navigate with well-organized content and clear menu labels.

Having low barriers to access was a key objective, so we took the learnings from our research and worked with the WVML team to create a virtual branch. Giving people the flexibility to explore  select collections from the library’s catalogue or use the advanced search tool to locate titles without needing to visit the building enriched the experience for all website visitors. 

Thoughtful collaboration and decision-making throughout each phase of the design and build focused not only on the public audience, but also the internal WVML team to deliver a website that made it easy for them to manage their content and promote events. Built in WordPress with Elementor, the WVML website was completely reimagined to deliver a welcoming, intuitive and inclusive online experience for all people looking to engage with their extensive services and programs. 

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