The Web Redesign has been making progress on developing the navigation for the new version of the website. We held a retreat consisting of members of the Web Visioning Committee and the Web Usability Committe to determine the focus of the website’s navigation. They chose a user centered design, focused on the tools and services that a visitor to the site would need to use. They then did an excercise to find the top level of navigation. This top level has a theme, see if you can figure it out.
- Find Stuff
- How to Find Stuff
- Stuff Happening
- Stewardship of Stuff
- About Us
- My Stuff
This has been the working version, obviously very informal, but it also serves a point that we want to keep in mind as we go forward: Users don’t necessarily understand library terminology and we should ensure that the language we use serves them, not us. Another version might be something more like ‘Find’, ‘Help Finding’, ‘Happenings’, ‘Preserving Knowledge’, ‘About Us’, and ‘My Record’. Please feel free to comment and make suggestions for these labels.
I have been surfing our website (tough job, I know!) and have found that our content falls pretty naturally into certain types of pages. We are going to use this to create guidelines for the creation and migration of the content into the new framework. These are as follows:
- Procedure & Documentation
- Service & Information
Some of the pages are going to have more content, even sub-pages, but they should fall pretty well within the bounds of one of these types. Like types will be grouped together to aid users in finding what they need, but there will also be plenty of links between the types to represent the complexities of our organization. For instance, all of the Exhibits will be found together, but each one will be linked by the Collection that it is a part of, the Location that houses it and the Department that stewards it.
So what are the next steps in creating navigation? The Web Usability Committee has performed a series of usability tests to help determine where potential patrons and site users would look for information within the different categories. They also noted what terms needed more explanation, and what items they felt were missing or did not belong. This data, combined with some website design heuristics, will be used to create an architecture for our new site. Once we have a website framed out, we will do some more testing to confirm our direction.