Re-Imagining the Library Website Experience

Daniel April 7, 20146:53 am

Coming up at 10am DC time!

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First group is from UNC Chapel Hill Libraries – Kim Vassiliadis and Chad Haefele

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Looking at touch points on the web, face to face, social media, and beyond.

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Next speaker will be from Richland Library. Introductions don’t have the names on the PowerPoint for this speaker. However she’s also designed retail websites.

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Kim is up first. Redesigning a large website.

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By 2013 their website was a link farm. There was a new event, or a new project, and so on. Heat maps showed little use on many links.

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After they decided to do a redesign, there were several redesigns throughout the process.

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The new site is a very drastic change, and it took time to get the staff and users on board.

Daniel April 7, 20147:07 am

Set up web site goals:
1. Discovery – Find it
2. Access – Get it
3. Services – Use it
4. Branding – Be it
5. Device neutrality – Bring it… to everything.

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Responsive design. That’s a big thing and a good thing.

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Website redesign is a lot like moving. It’s not just you making the decision where you’re going to live.

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To get to the new shiny house, you need to start where you live, no matter how cluttered it is. In other words, CONTENT INVENTORY.

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28,000 files they needed to inventory. Then they had DELETION PARTIES! Get rid of the stuff you don’t need anymore.

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Then – come up with a wish list. What do you want? What are the top five things?

Search box
Contact Info
Places to Study
Renew Books

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As a project manager, you’re kind of like a realtor. STICK TO THE WISHLIST. That’s part of your job.

Daniel April 7, 20147:11 am

WOOT! They chose WordPress. They chose it because the campus community was already using WordPress. There was a wealth of knowledge available. This was for the informational pages, not the catalogue.

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Rolled out a proof of concept. Really liked the big photo design – modern, clean, but also features their services and site!

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Informal usability studies. Just let people poke the site and ask them to work on it.

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Wishlist – Library hours. Everything was coded by hand, maintained by one person.

Huh, that sounds a little familiar.

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Hours pages were done outside of WordPress using an open source hours management interface for the web. One person in each branch is responsible for updating the interface, but then the updates go out site wide.

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Places to study – Would be great on our site as Study Rooms.

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Templating – Templates for departments. Sidebars are updated automatically and site wide. WordPress does that. The Branch Pages have their own templates as well. I could build something like this pretty easily using the built in page template features in WordPress.

Daniel April 7, 20147:16 am

I mean, look at this site. It’s WordPress. I had an outage right when the conference began, had it back online in thirty minutes, and reset to a working order in forty minutes.

Daniel April 7, 20147:17 am

Used four developers, a two person UX group, and sundry usability and testers. Roughly 40 people.

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Coordination was done through agile project coordination. You should use some kind of tool that gets down to the granular level of work.

Daniel April 7, 20147:19 am

WordPress short codes are useful for embedding things into the site. Anywhere you type that short code into your page, you get that widget or data.

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“Our new website is SWEET.” 🙂

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Went from all those files to perhaps ~250 published pages in WordPress.

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Then they started scrubbing the site for jargon. Did surveys to find out what people knew and didn’t know. Found that much of what wasn’t known was library jargon.

Daniel April 7, 20147:26 am

Kelly Coulter – Web Development (Background in commercial web development.)

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Do OFFICIAL content at the two highest levels. But below that, let the staff contribute content. I kinda like that… like I like it a lot.

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Subscription services – things we send people off the website for. Online access books (Safari tech books for example.)

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All of those things take customers off the website, which isn’t ideal because people can get confused.

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Set up information specific and special for your organization. Customers do not want fluff, jargon, editorial content, or human interest content.

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People were more interested in services, not people. So “We have Safari tech books!” was popular whereas “Here’s Joan! She’s a great volunteer” was rarely clicked. 🙁

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Reduce obstacles. Get rid of the things that separate services from website. Reduce organizational boundaries. Promote focus.

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Is it really broken? Is there a reason you need to recreate the wheel on this stuff? People do not understand SAAS, they just use SAAS. (Software as a Service for those who don’t grok SAAS.)

Daniel April 7, 20147:35 am

Google doesn’t know that your library has an eBook available through your website.