Sunday, October 26, 2008

Website Redesign: perspectives from the field

Ohio: creating the team. (Ohio State, Black and Shelby.)
150 people with ftp access to server. In developing the team, they recruited for specific skills and competencies. Used a leadership tool to help develop the list of competencies. They used Bruce Tuckman's model of team building. All web developers in the same office. Weekly meeting. Wrote a mission statement as a team. Technical standards: developed a set of standards, including security (#1); user centered design; maintainability; data preservation. Also worked on staging environment version control. Made a commitment to a standardized platform. Used LAMP, hosted on university hosted machines. Use OSS packages whenever possible. Perform regular software updates. Applications need to be longstanding (10 years); therefore needs solid documentation. Secure password repository. Committed to a toolbox mentality for users.

A Merged Website: triumphs and compromises. (Amelia Brunskill, Dickenson College.)
Usability testing: used Camtasia to capture users use.Students participated in these tests. Documentation is an issue.
Communications: LIS blog created in Drupal. Minutes and timelines posted. Liaison to units. Usability reports were posted. Users were a neutral party. Most content was at the unit's discretion. Pages were consistent across all units/sites. Internal technical blog created for suggestions, updates, etc. Editorial team built from all units that meet quarterly. Soft rollout. Sites ran in tandem. Hard rollout in July. Impressive amount of lack of negative feedback. All units had ownership.

Website Redesign: perspectives from the field
. (Robin Leech, Oklahoma State University Libraries.)
Usability testing. Teams were created, each of 5 people. Needed to stay within the university's style sheets. The entire team read Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think. Had a one day workshop led by Beth Thomsett-Scott. Aligned mission with the library strategic goals. Reviewed log files. Wanted to look at the bottom 1/3 and bottom 1/2. Staff surveys. Developed an Excel timeline. All staff at library could get to the timeline. They used Morae (Techsmith) to do recorded task testing. Continued to use Survey Monkey as the site developed. Card sorts. Students were used in beta testing, and later another group of students were recruited for additional testing.

Edward M. Corrado,Binghamton University, (but he was at the college of new jersey when they redesigned their site.)
Collected lots of data; looked a two years worth of logs. They were also tasked with redesigning the opac at the same time. Lots of usability studies. Looked at a lot of peer academic websites, but focused on sites that were known to do good usability studies. Developed 32 revisions. Started with the home page and then a few top level pages. One problem was that everyone thought a revision was the final version... Confusion with pig latin text, etc. Ultimately, the website was a success, due to the team, the university webmaster, the usability studies, etc. The one thing that was a problem was no mission statement for the library-- it was a big hurdle. This actually helps when you get conflicting user feedback... are you focused on the library mission? Communication is a big key. About 7 people on the committee. Need to make sure that at the last revision, people understand that this is going up... Also did usability studies a few months after the launch and tweaked the website based on results.

Question: Are there best practices emerging from the usability studies that can benefit other sites? The panelists mentioned 2 tools: and John Kupersmith's Webspace.

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