I interviewed 10 students and teachers and 2 librarians to get a sense of who uses the library and how they go about using it. From the information collected, I created 3 different personas that interact regularly with the library website: the casual user, the power user, and the librarian, and identified what they use the site for, what pain points they had, and what they wished could be incorporated.
I researched many libraries in order to get a good grasp of how other library sites functioned, what they looked like, and what features were strengths or weaknesses. I scored them all on the functionality and information architecture of their homepage, search result page, and a single item page. I also rated their aesthetics and overall experience. I noted pros, like prominent search bars, and cons, like obfuscated call numbers, as well as an overall summary of how I felt.
Current Site Map
Redesigned Site Map
The library actually consisted of two sites, a large, copy heavy piece of the mica.edu site and then the catalog search. It was confusing to a lot of the users that I interviewed. There was also a lot of duplication: pages that were actual duplicates and pages that essentially had the same information. One of the librarians pointed out that because of the number of pages and how deep the site went, content was often out of date and sometimes it was easier to just create something new rather than search through the labyrinth of pages to find it. I went through all the pages and created a current site map, noting which were duplicates and analyzing the structure of it all. I took into account the information from the personas and the competitive analysis, as well as groupings that made sense for navigation, and worked to simplify the organization into better and easier experience.
We were strongly encouraged to use the MICA branding, typefaces and colors. I created three variations of a design that met the needs of the different personas and worked within the framework as defined by the page descriptions.
Instead of creating wireframes, I created information architecture for the website using a tiered system of page descriptions. The descriptions allowed me to create a hierarchy on each page and inform the design and priority of different elements. It also helped reduce clutter on the mobile sites.