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Findability: Information, Not Location


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Learn how to foster user-friendly digital information flows by eliminating silos, highlighting context and improving findability to create a unified web presence. Hear how the University of Michigan Libraries' (MLibrary) are reinventing the libraries' web sites to emphasize information over the path users previously took to access it. By elevating information over its location, users are not forced to know which library is the "right" starting place. The talk includes tips for your library web redesign process and user-centric design process.

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Findability: Information, Not Location

  1. 1. Session A305 Findability: Information Not Location University Library University of Michigan Mike Creech Web Content Manager [email_address] Ken Varnum Web Systems Manager [email_address]
  2. 2. Introduction/Overview <ul><li>A Brief History of Our Version of Reality </li></ul><ul><li>The current collection of sites for the Library System has grown with no particular plan and each one has its own design and architecture. </li></ul><ul><li>The sites correspond with previous library organizational structures but really make no sense to our users or even to some staff members. </li></ul><ul><li>Beyond basic information, users need to know which of the libraries holds particular materials and how to use the site of that library. </li></ul>
  3. 3. What We Have Now <ul><li>About 33 sites served from </li></ul><ul><li>About 52,000 pages of content </li></ul><ul><li>Does not include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Public Health library </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Digital library </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scholarly publishing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutional repository </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Every month </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Average of ~3,000,000 pages viewed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Average of ~500,000 users served </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. My God, What Have We Done?
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  10. 10. You get the picture
  11. 11. &quot;I Can't Find Anything.&quot; <ul><li>This is how the problem was presented </li></ul><ul><li>In discussions with management and staff: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Navigation to known objects difficult </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search & findability a challenge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Branding (as we’ve seen) uneven at best </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sense of place totally absent </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Phased Approach <ul><li>A band-aid Consistent navigation and branding </li></ul><ul><li>Major surgery Reinventing the entire web presence </li></ul>
  13. 13. Short-Term Goals <ul><li>Standard global navigation </li></ul><ul><li>Extending “MLibrary” branding </li></ul><ul><li>More consistency in layout </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brought content into sharper relief </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Moved toward unified web site for system </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Phase I: MLibrarification <ul><li>This included most of the library sites. </li></ul><ul><li>Goal: Consistent navigation and sense of place </li></ul><ul><li>Out of scope defined by </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Significant programming overhead </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Significant complexity of pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Volume of usage vs. size of site </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. More MLibrarification <ul><li>Reviewed navigation elements each site used </li></ul><ul><li>Created a global scheme to incorporate consistency </li></ul><ul><li>Extended the MLibrary brand </li></ul><ul><li>Preserved local autonomy over look and feel of each site’s content during the transition </li></ul>
  16. 19. Long-Term Goals <ul><li>Engineer a more effective search solution </li></ul><ul><li>Break down the silos that hold our information </li></ul><ul><li>Create an ordered and consistent navigation scheme </li></ul><ul><li>Provide users an opportunity to build pathways we did not see </li></ul>
  17. 20. Phase II: Information not Location <ul><li>Eliminating silos </li></ul><ul><li>Fostering community </li></ul><ul><li>Highlighting context </li></ul><ul><li>Improving findability </li></ul><ul><li>Syndicating content </li></ul>
  18. 21. Phase II: Process <ul><li>Focus Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Formal Survey </li></ul><ul><li>One Question Survey </li></ul><ul><li>Server Access Log and Google Analytics Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Initiate on-going conversations with MLibrary stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Review and assess existing content </li></ul>
  19. 22. What We've Found <ul><li>Users want importance to be obvious </li></ul><ul><li>Users don’t differentiate between silos, tools and services </li></ul><ul><li>Users come to the library website with a task, not necessarily a resource in mind </li></ul>
  20. 23. Process So Far <ul><li>Generated buy-in from administration </li></ul><ul><li>Extended the brand across all sites </li></ul><ul><li>Established Advisory Groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Approach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User Interface Design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information Architecture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Faculty </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Communicating with library staff </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Team blog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff newsletter </li></ul></ul>
  21. 24. MTagger: Down with Silos!
  22. 25. Collections <ul><li>Five at present </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MLibrary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mirlyn </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Digital Images </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scholarly Publishing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MBooks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link Resolver </li></ul></ul>
  23. 26. Getting Stuff Out <ul><li>RSS Feeds </li></ul><ul><li>API </li></ul><ul><ul><li>JSON </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PHP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Styled HTML </li></ul></ul>
  24. 27. Tagging from Tag Cloud
  25. 28. What Gets Tagged
  26. 29. Who Does the Tagging
  27. 30. Next Steps <ul><li>Select and implement a CMS </li></ul><ul><li>Select an open-source search tool </li></ul><ul><li>Develop the information architecture and user interface for the unified web presence </li></ul><ul><li>Migrate content and applications into the CMS </li></ul><ul><li>Production server live by end of year </li></ul>
  28. 31. Questions?
  29. 32. Thank You Slides Mike Creech Web Content Manager [email_address] Ken Varnum Web Systems Manager [email_address]