Thursday, September 11, 2008

Touching base, what I am doing

Apologies for my slackness in writing lately. I am quite literally drowning in the CMS conversion. I'd like to thank the Ninjas and especially Sharon Bryan for their work knocking off the last pointy edges before a 'real' trial publish.

One thing I think all the ninjas agree on is that we really need to do a review of our site. Because the site has had bits tacked on in an 'as needs' basis we are finding lots of content that works on its own but not as a coordinated part of the library site. There is massive duplication, particularly of contact information. There also a lot of broken internal links as things like the new book lists have been moved but older pages links to them have slipped through the cracks - and to add to the embarrassment those broken links seem to have been on display for literally years.

Again due to the way the site has evolved over time there is little consistency of 'voice' or format (every form looks different).

I think the two big areas for us to focus on post launch are:
  1. A review (with a lot of observational user studies) and a redesign with a view to making the site user-centric based on what we learn from the review
  2. A commitment to quality assurance, making the existing content meet standards for accessibility, usability, voice, granularity, consistency, currency, relevance; and building mechanisms (both automated and organisational) to ensure new content meets those standards.
We also have a massive link checking job ahead of us in the subject guides, and I think it's time we started thinking about how we approach resource discovery in our subject disciplines.

I also expect the results of the Client Survey to feed into the areas identified as most important to our clients.

A little factoid I calculated is that 100 of our 6000+ pages generate 92% of our hits - perhaps our long tail is a little too long?

I'm also doing the preliminary design of our 360 Search/Link implementation, helping out with the Library Planning Day committee, and organising the impending Horizon upgrade (3rd of October). If I die I like dark red roses and donations to Amnesty International and Medecins Sans Frontieres.


Bronwen said...

Looks like a big job. Count me in. this is a great opportunity to really focus on what our clients want and not what we think they need. A couple of slogans that I picked up from speakers at ALIA about the future of libraries:
On re-imagining the library - sharing knowledge and imagination with knowledge and imagination; focus on peoples needs; in tomorrow's library, it is not the fences we put up that are important but the core (figure that one out). Everyone was saying "get into the domain of the client"

Alan @JCU Library said...

Yeah, I think we've lost site of user needs in a sense (the top twenty users of the site, bar one, are library staff). Kate's been saying a lot that we need to think of the web site as a service point (our only 24*7 one) and devote the resources and thinking to it we devote to other service points.