The last time I really worked on the website, I did not change the look of the site at all, simply using the existing look and making it responsive. After some feedback and based on general good UX practices, I made a couple of mock ups on how to improve the site with some minor changes.
I did not want to do a full redesign or rewrite of the theme. I figure we would do that when we upgrade to Drupal 8 (whenever it happens).
Since the changes are generally minor, I thought it best to do it in phases. Making a couple of changes, letting users get used to them over the course of weeks or months, then making the next couple of changes. As a result, the redesign is split into multiple steps.
The first phase consists of very minor aesthetic changes that were suggested:
- change background colour: make this a very dark blue or lighter grey
- remove borders around recently added/featured book descriptions on front page
Since these are super small changes, by the time this is posted, phase 1 will probably already be done.
In the second phase, we will move search so that it is consistent across all pages instead of the front page being different.
- move search so that it is using the same layout as all the other pages
- consider revising the welcome blurb and Browse Collection sections; one option would be to remove the welcome blurb, replace with news feed
(Before I left, I managed to get us through Phase 2.)
Phase three introduces a top bar to the site. Right now, there are many things cluttered into the page header area, so to unclutter the header, we would introduce a new area to the site. Having a top bar is consistent with what most other sites do for their settings, login and language buttons. Most of the buttons will be more or less in the same place, just not in the logo header area anymore.
- move colour contrast, language, login to top bar
- optional: move colour contrast and language first, wait till phase 4 to move login buttons
Finally, we can consider moving the search bar to an even more prominent location, to the right of the header now that all the buttons will be in the top bar.
- move search on all pages next to NNELS logo
- optional: also move login buttons depending on decision in phase 3
Hopefully, this will provide a more consistent user experience across the pages, and encourage people to look for books.
I recently went to take a look at the site and lo’ and behold, the site now (August 2018) looks much closer to the mockup I made: