The library website is (over)due for an update. Our homepage is slow, packed with links, and looking its age. The current version of the homepage was launched in 2010 (the year Angry Birds and the first iPad were released). Ironically, we would have to develop a separate mobile website to accommodate the iPad and other mobile devices the following year.
As the librarian responsible for our web presence, updating our website has been my biggest project to tackle. The website is used by all of our clients and everyone who works in the library. For distance users, library.usask.ca IS the library and it should reflect the quality of our collections, services, and people. Right now, users in areas with slow internet connections struggle to load our homepage and we struggle to make the improvements we want in the old page templates. It is time for a change, and we are going to make that happen this summer.
To make this redesign project a success, I want to hear what you like about the website, what you hate about it, and what it is missing that would make the library easier to use. There will be multiple opportunities for library employees and library clients to participate in the design process over the coming months. Keep an eye on this news feed to project updates. The major steps we will move through will be:
1. Consultation and planning within the library: I will be meetings with groups throughout the library and organizing open consultations to ask questions about your priorities, issues with the current site, and unique needs of the clients you serve. Library employees can watch your email for updates and I will share the results of these meetings here in this news feed.
2. Alpha site: By August we will have a version of the site available to test-drive that you can click on, navigate through, and play with, but nothing will be set in stone and everything is still up for revision. This is a space where we can try out ideas, make mistakes, and get feedback quickly. The purpose of making this site available across the library and to our clients is to get feedback early and often so we can iterate through changes and respond quickly to new information.
3. Beta site: Once the feedback we are receiving is trending toward the positive and the alpha site is relatively stable it will shift into beta and we will promote it to our clients by making it available in parallel with our current website (using a slightly different address). This is the same strategy the redesign of the usask.ca homepage used. This will allow us to get more feedback from a wide range of users and to give our community time to experience the site and get comfortable with it before the old site is retired. We plan to have the beta site ready to share as students return for the Fall 2017 semester.
4. Live: We will continue to fine-tune the beta site until the feedback from our website users indicates that the new site is ready to replace the old version. There is no hard deadline for this switch over but there will be lots of communication and warning beforehand (and I promise not to change it over in the middle of exam season).
There is a lot that has to happen between today and when we go live with a fully functional new site, but I have been doing a lot of work behind the scenes to prepare for this change. Please continue to check back here to see what evidence we are using to make decisions about the site, what major changes to expect, and to see how we incorporate your feedback into the design. Please feel free to
Please feel free to share your ideas about the website with me, I want to hear from you!