Website Redesign: The University of Washington Libraries’ Experience
Ward, Jennifer L.
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Purpose: This article is a case study of a large academic library’s website redesign, undertaken during the 2003-2004 academic year. Methodology: During the redesign process, numerous methods of eliciting user feedback were used; this included an online survey, focus groups with each of the Libraries’ primary user populations, parallel design process to generate the first round of prototypes, low-fidelity prototyping, card sorting, high-fidelity prototyping, and three rounds of usability testing. The results of each type of feedback session were analyzed carefully in order to determine the most important areas for improvement and to provide valuable information regarding how users used the website. Findings: The design teams spent nine months developing a website that was grounded in user-centered design methodologies and employed appropriate usability standards. Feedback from users was sought at every step in the process and in very different ways. From each interaction with users, the design teams learned something valuable. By working through the design process with user needs at the fore, staff are confident that the resulting interfaces are functional, well-planned, and most importantly, usable.