Monday, April 12, 2010

CIL2010: Website Redesign: Two Case Studies

pic of Sarah HJ, aka The Librarian in black, of course (but with a blue streak in her hair)

Web Site Redesign: Two Case Studies

Sarah HJ

Kirstine Bobe

Stephen Fernie

Shian-Chih Chang

William Wheeler

Sarah HJ: a public library website redesign: aka the trip to Hades & back!!!

San Jose Public (add a link from my blog)

  • merged with San Jose State University library – unique situation – so merged web site

Problems we're solving:

  • 1 site for 2 libs

  • public lib users felt ripped off

  • 7 year old design

  • wemaster as gatekeeper = disconnected staff

  • ADA requirements cumbersome in exisintg environment

Problems encountered while solving the above:

  • unrealistic expectations from admin

  • 1 year long rfp and contract process

  • incompetent designers (lost six months)

  • lost momentum

  • merged web team working on 3 websites

redesign planning:

  • stakholders (ie the peeps) identify org goals

  • techies, designers, and info architects identify how to meet them (the goals)

  • identify your givens (what you already know...from demographics / surveys)

  • use planning software (eg BaseCamp...check it out)...also dotproject (add a link)

  • double the estimated time line

staff and customer involvement:

  • initial satisf surveys for both – what do they like now? What do they hate?

  • Card-sorting for testing early on

  • staff focus groups

  • mock-up task testing for customers

    • ask people to perform common tasks and observe success rate

  • transparency to staff and customers

    • keep people informed about how the project is moving along

usability testing

  • identify who you are serving

  • focus on the few things you do well

  • tell stories of what your users want

  • look for friciton points

  • who is the site for again? (for eg kidszone...for kids or parents?)

  • can simply grab some peeps from the lib / ask questions

  • focus on common functions

  • ...our usability study did a good job on this, je pense


  • start simple

  • basic tools

    • JAWS, WAVE, browser emulators, OS emulators...can tell you a lot about how your Web site will be usable

    • Firefox tools: firesizer, firefox accessibility extension, HTML validator


  • blogs for staff and customers...keep peeps in the loop + respond to comments and suggestions

  • also use that for staff and customer feedback on an ongoing basis

  • recruit usability testing participants from among “the angry folk”!!!

project management

  • set deadlines for everything

  • hold people accountable

  • one person should be in charge of tracking

  • give periodic updates to staff/mngt

  • spend the most time on IA (information architechture) and design

  • keep things moving no matter what

  • celebrate small victories

launch techniques

  • phased-in launch (notices, pre-testing)

  • beta + feedback = 1.0...

  • more feedback....1.1 etc...

  • perpetual beta...keep listening and improving

  • TODO: prvoide brief oline and printable orientation (if it takes more than one page, start over, from the beginning!!!)

five things to avoid:

  • try to be fancy when your brain says NO

  • allow consultants to push you around

  • have more than one project manager

  • stifle creativity

  • reinvent some wheels

    • see how other lib handle things you're puzzling over

five things you must do:

  • show your ego to the door

  • take risks

  • document everything

  • reserach everything

  • talk to your users continuously

Georgetown Univ Library Web site

Kristina Bode

  • goal = user centered

task analysis:

  • know your users...what are they doing at your site (we did this... :) )

  • used lots of analytics...faqs etc...

master task list:

  • cut and pasted (literally) big list in to categories

  • what could people do on the current site...what worked and did not

  • master list emerged with fab nav

  • went back to staff who filled in bits with their unique perspective



  • you need to do it

  • looked a lot at other similar libs' sites

  • picked three with distinct approaces to home page org

  • tested those pages (their bare categories / labels) and tested them on patrons (guerilla style!...walked up to people and asked them)

  • “if you clicked on this, what would you expect to get?”

  • insights gained re how to name things...test / prototype / test...perpetual beta (like wash, rinse, repeat!)

Content Management System

  • needed to be easy (used to use DreamWeaver, moved to Drupal)

  • Drupal has a steep learning curve...made up with modules

Subject Guides (Shian)

  • used program develped by Digital Library Development Lab at Univ of Mn : LibData

  • A to Z list and Subject Guides linked together

  • seamless integration with Web site

Will Wheeler...Communication...Wiki

  • used for documentation and communication, both on and off campus

  • was a new thing for everyone

  • enabled small group work

  • adoption challenges...many users requried constant reminders

  • “tool fatique”

  • accessibility does not equal use

  • refine beyond anectdotal data

  • think about what data you WANT then figure out how to get it

  • drupal was a big decision...a complex change...slowly-emerging understanding

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