As we near the end of 2018 and close in on our first year as a website/project, we’re still learning and trying to improve. One of our first areas on this website was our Library. The purpose of the Library was to be a definitive collection of resources relating to the trade. Things like installation instructions and service manuals, catalogs, and templates. The purpose was that one day, rather than Googling or searching out a particular item or resource, you could navigate to the Library and find what you’re looking for in 3 clicks or less. Whether you were in front of a computer in your shop or your smart phone in your truck, you would know exactly where to go to find exactly what you need. We’re still a long way away from this but we’re making progress.
We currently have over 1300 files within the Library (and that’s probably only going to represent less than 1% of the Library when all is said and done). As we’ve uploaded files and links to resources, we’ve learned that our initial approach/layout wasn’t as efficient as it could be. If you have hundreds of manufacturer files listed for a specific topic, such as Intercom or Monitoring Stations, it can be hard to navigate without a bit of scrolling and careful reading. It can be done better, so that’s what we’re doing.
The structure of the Library will remain the same but changes are coming to the pages that compromise the Library.
List of Manufacturers
This tab will largely remain the same. This tab is a List of Manufacturers that sell products related to a given topic. If, for example, you wanted to know who manufactured mortise locks, such as searching for an alternative brand or sourcing an existing one, this is the tab you would jump to. Hyperlinks will be included that point to the page of a manufacturer’s website that covers the topic at hand. This will allow you to quickly navigate to their area to find a document that we haven’t uploaded yet or maybe aren’t able to.
The Resources tab will start containing more information. We’ve learned that a large number of locksmiths prefer visual learning, specifically YouTube videos. Going forward, we’re going to compile lists of YouTube videos links that relate to a given topic. We will also continue to index posts and organic content.
Manufacturer’s Literature and Manuals
The Manufacturer’s Literature and Manuals tab is getting our biggest makeover.
- We’re going to start including a manufacturer’s name at the top of the tab if their literature and/or manuals can be found below. This should save you scrolling time until the Library is fully populated.
- Each manufacturer’s name will contain a hyperlink to their website. If you needed to access their website to find a document that we do not have, it’s as simple as one click versus opening a new tab or window and typing in the URL or searching for it.
- Under each manufacturer’s name, their literature and manuals will be broken down into 3 categories:
- Catalogs and Promotional Materials: Things such as catalogs and data and cut sheets.
- Instructions and Manuals: This is where you find installation instructions and service manuals
- Templates: Available installation templates will be found here.
The goal for these changes, like all others, is to make the process for seeking out information related to a specific area as painless as possible.
Future Library Additions
Our goal has always been to “finish up” what was already in place before moving forward and a fair number of sections of the Library are still incomplete. We plan to finish updating those sections in the next few months prior to our 1 year anniversary. But we’re not done. We have expansion plans.
Throughout 2019, we plan to add the following sections to the Library:
- Programming and Cloning Tools
- Door Hardware
- Astragals and Guards
- Door Coordinators
- Door and Cabinet Pulls
- Dummy Trim
- Holders and Stops
- Push/Pull Latches and Trim
- Specialty Door and Cabinet Trim
- Specialty Latches and Strikes
- Sweeps, Seals, Thresholds, and Weatherstripping
- Exit Devices
- Concealed Rod
- Vertical Rod
We will add “Hybrid Cylinders” to the “Locks” section and “Power Transfers” to the “Access Control” section as well.
It’s a learning process but we’re getting there. We’ve gotten plenty of feedback and paid careful attention to website metrics, specifically search strings, to refine what we have and make things better for site visitors. We just ask for your patience going forward – there aren’t blueprints available for most of what we do on here. We’ve gotten some things right, some things wrong, but we’re still moving forward.
If you like what you’ve seen so far, wait until 2019 – you ain’t seen nothing yet.