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Site Redesign & Content Strategy

Posted by ANGELAGORDEN on FEBRUARY 26, 2017

The main research library news blog targeted undergraduate and graduate students on campus as well as researchers off campus, faculty, staff, librarians, and the general public. Library staff post to the blog to highlight library resources, acquisitions, events, and exhibits. This blog was also connected to over 2 dozen smaller blogs for branch libraries.

Problem

The central library news blog had an outdated design and outdated user interface that made it difficult for library staff to contribute content.

  • Clunky back end interface
  • Limited options for incorporating visual media.
  • No styling options (strictly XHTML and no custom CSS options for branding)

The workflow to post content to the blog involved numerous back and forth emails, creating and sharing documents in google drive for editing, transferring them manually into a clunky CMS.

The blog did not directly feed into the library website, so I manually created links between the blog and the Drupal website for every new blog post.

Blog posts were also text-heavy, and the layout and typography made the content hard to scan.

Also, there were more than 20 small blogs for the library system, so the reading experience was fragmented and it was hard to find content.

Blog layout before re-design

Solution

Needs finding

I spent a few months diagnosing technical and workflow issues with the interface and interviewing staff about their experiences using the old interface.  I also conducted a focus group to develop empathy for the needs, frustrations, and goals of blog contributors.

Content Strategy & Information Architecture

I conducted a content audit of the existing library blogs to better understand the existing content and the relationships between the network of blogs.

I then conducted a reverse card sort with stakeholders to see how well existing categories and labels described the types of content people were blogging about.

Competitive analysis

I researched alternate platforms by looking into what other libraries were using and the general advantages and disadvantages of using one platform over another.  Drupal versus WordPress for instance.

This research informed my design recommendations to create a new unified news blog for the library that offers a pleasant and engaging reading experience for users while making the process of contributing content as simple as possible.

Proof of Concept

I designed the layout for the blog, chose a WordPress theme to customize, applied branding, and populated it with some already existing design assets.

Wireframing

Collaborating with a programmer, I created a proof of concept version of the library news blog.

REDESIGNED PROTOTYPE

Lessons Learned

  • collaboration skills for working with developers
  • best practices around web accessibility
  • methods for customizing WordPress
  • instructional text best practices