As I have recently joined the code4libBC planning group, I thought I would reflect a little on how the planning happened and worked for code4lib north even though it was a while ago. Continue reading “Planning a Regional Code4Lib: North 2013”
18 Months of Web Services and Technology at Ryerson Library
It felt a lot longer than 18 months with the amount of stuff that happened. The list of activities and projects at for my one year review was definitely a lot longer than I expected. I’m not sure I even know where to begin, but maybe I should begin at the beginning. Continue reading “18 Months of Web Services and Technology at Ryerson Library”
Issue Tracker (Redmine) Implementation Update
In a previous post, I talked about how we chose our issue tracker and then our implementation. Unfortunately, at the time, we had some trouble getting staff to use it so the team had strategized on how we might improve uptake. Continue reading “Issue Tracker (Redmine) Implementation Update”
Revised Contact Us: Making it Simpler and Shorter
While the Contact page is one of the most visited pages, I had put it off for a time, wanting to redesign the pages that really needed work first. While not the best, the Contact page was functional and was easy enough to skim. After redoing the other pages though, the Contact page started to look ugly in comparison. Continue reading “Revised Contact Us: Making it Simpler and Shorter”
Services Redesign & Content Overhaul
Not too long ago, I posted about the revised IA of the Services section of the website. Staff consultations followed particularly to apprise them of recommended changes and to take the opportunity to revise the content. I created mockups, which I got feedback on. Finally, the page went live.
Consultation is Key
Based on the revised IA, I began an extensive consultation process with all the teams involved. While the methods differed, the most common process was by meeting with the librarian in charge, who would discuss the changes with the team and then assign a technician to help with the content revision. At other times, I just asked the librarian if they would have a problem with someone else revising the page.
I focused on the fact that the recommended changes were based on exercises with both staff and students. While the content could stay more or less the same, it was also a good opportunity for the team to make revisions. (Some pages hadn’t been revised in 10 years.)
For the most part, the major changes were discussed with the librarians and the assigned technician took care of the detailed content revision. I also did all the revisions for the technology area, since that’s under our team’s purview. Librarians that didn’t have a technician to help, I assigned the pages to the technician who does web editing support or the co-op student (who also helped with pages that have no owners).
The Old Services
The Services section was comprised of 125 pages, and the landing page looked like this:
Pretty awful, isn’t it? The old IA was a bit of a mess as well, and a lot of pages had the same information or just a single paragraph. The organization seems to have come about via the “we should make a page about this, and put it here”, meaning there doesn’t seem to have been a strict management of content. Not sure duplication of content was reviewed in any way either.
From the card sort, it’s obvious that some of the pages are definitely not where users might typically look for them. Here’s the list of pages in the old IA:
Services Audio-Visual Resources & Services Searching for Audio-Visual Material Bookings Borrowing Audio Visual Material AV Copyright DVD Player Lending Digitized AV Resources Equipment Screening Facility Search Other AV Collections Other Audio Visual Resources Borrow from Another Library Search Other Libraries NRC-CISTI Discover Borrow in Person from Other Libraries RACER (Interlibrary Loan) Using RACER RACER FAQ Tips for Faster Interlibrary Loans Policies Ryerson’s Lending Policies for External Institutions Article Not Available @ Ryerson Request this Title via Interlibrary Loan Borrower Services Circulation Records Privacy Courtesy Notices Direct Borrowing Extended Loans Fines & Penalties Holds Library Cards Alumni & Retirees Application Forms Distance Education Library Cards Faculty & Staff Library Cards George Brown Library Cards Nursing Library Cards Others Student Library Cards Loan Periods Lost Library Materials Maximum Items Borrowed Recalling Library Materials Renewing Materials Returning Library Material Self Services Special Loans Course Readings (One-stop Service) - no changes to subpages Facilities & Technology Access from Home Change Machines Computer Labs Lost and Found Photocopying Printing Study Space Telephones Washrooms Wireless Access (wifi) Instructional Services Laptop Loan Program Laptop Loan FAQ Ronald D. Besse Information & Learning Commons About the Commons/FAQ Besse Commons Hours Codes of Conduct Floorplan Mission Photo Gallery Ronald D. Besse Software Vision Geospatial, Map and Data Centre Instructional Services Learning Commons Lab (ILC) Research Help Services Technology Support Writing Centre Services for Distance Education Students Services for Faculty Audio Visual Services Direct Borrowing Electronic Resources Faculty Borrowing Library Cards Ordering Orientation Classes Reference Services Targeting Journals for Publication Instructions for Authors Journal Impact Factors Periodical Directories Periodical Title Abbreviations Recent Publications Refereed Journals Services for Graduate Students Borrowing & Renewing Computers & Study Space Direct Borrowing Graduate Workshops Reference Services - Graduates Thesis Submission Services for Persons with Disabilities - no changes to subpages
Content Revision & The Authoritative Copy
Other than merging a bunch of pages and getting rid of redundant ones, I consolidated a lot of information where we needed one “authoritative” copy: hours, policies, and fines. It is particularly important that we do not have conflicting information for circulation staff, because they are the ones that deal with fines, and lost and damaged items. Obviously, this also prevents confusion and possible frustration on the part of our users. A short guideline now exists on our intranet in regards to this issue.
We also moved our existing FAQ pages to LibAnswers, our FAQ database.
A couple of the ‘Services for…’ pages don’t really belong to anyone and they suffered from some of the same problems as the old Services page. I got our co-op student to look them over and suggest changes. Here’s what we came up with for the Graduates page:
We decided to take out redundant links, and links that were not of special interest. Then, obviously, we decided to categorize them a little so it was easier to read.
As per usual, I created a number of mockups for the web committee to review. In an attempt to make it look a little more consistent with Research Help, I used the coloured boxes motif and played around with different ways of organizing the pages.
People were actually very against the boxes, and I agreed that it seemed like trying to force the look on Services. Based on the feedback on which they did prefer, I created clean black and white versions of two of the original mockups.
The group preferred mockup #1 with the icons on the right hand side. After a couple of more changes based on the committee’s feedback, I posted it in the staff room and sent it out by email as well. Sadly, I didn’t get any feedback though I suppose that’s not necessarily bad.
After all the consultations and content revisions, we pared Services to 90 pages (vs. 125). This is the final version of the IA:
Services Audio-Visual Resources & Services Searching for Audio-Visual Material Booking AV Material Borrowing AV Material Digitized AV Resources Other AV Resources Borrower Services Fines & Penalties Holds and Recalling Materials Library Cards Alumni & Retirees Application Forms Distance Education Library Cards Faculty & Staff Library Cards George Brown Library Cards Nursing Library Cards Others Student Library Cards Loan Periods Lost Library Materials Returning Library Material Self Services Borrow from Another Library Direct Borrowing Search Other Libraries RACER (Interlibrary Loan) Using RACER Tips for Faster Interlibrary Loans Request this Title via Interlibrary Loan Course Readings (One-stop Service)- no changes to subpages Facilities & Spaces Computer Labs Software Lost and Found Ronald D. Besse Information & Learning Commons About the Commons Codes of Conduct Mission & Vision Photo Gallery Ronald D. Besse Geospatial, Map and Data Centre Learning Commons Lab (ILC) Writing Centre Study Space Telephones Washrooms Viewing AV Instructional Services Research Help Services Technology & Tools Access from Home Change Machines DVD Player Loan Laptop Loan Program Photocopying Printing RefWorks Technology Assistance Wireless Access (WiFi) Services for Distance Education Students Services for Faculty Scholarly Communication Journal Impact Factors Open Access Author Fund Refereed Journals Services for Graduate Students Graduate Workshops Services for Persons with Disabilities - no changes to subpages
The ILL pages haven’t actually been revised yet as they were busy with their projects, but that should happen in the next little while. The page count and the new IA are based on an already revised section of ILL, so that may differ from what actually happens in the future.
I also ended up writing a fairly long email to list all the changes as requested that I sent out to all staff.
The final version turned out fairly well I think.
About Us Redesign & Reorganization
The website redesign continues! Next up is the ‘About Us’ section. I find it more difficult to do sometimes, because our users don’t use the About section nearly as much, so don’t always have much of an opinion about it. Although it goes against my usual inclination, I decided to go ahead with only minimal feedback. Continue reading “About Us Redesign & Reorganization”
Learning Management System Demo Week Notes
Ryerson is going through a public consultation for a new LMS. I mostly went to the sessions where an instructor came in to talk about their experience with a product. When that wasn’t available, I went to the vendor presentations.
Full schedule and links to the session recordings: http://lms.blog.ryerson.ca/2013/03/20/announcing-lms-demo-week/
Continue reading “Learning Management System Demo Week Notes”
Services Card Sort & Revised IA
So this time I did a proper card sort, because the services section is a lot bigger than the others. How to group services and the pages therein is also a lot less clear cut. Continue reading “Services Card Sort & Revised IA”
Inclusion: Access Ryerson, Beyond the AODA Notes
Presented by Accessibility Advisory Committee Co-Chairs Continue reading “Inclusion: Access Ryerson, Beyond the AODA Notes”
Redesigning the Digital Commons Page
Recently, our team has been assisting with a new initiative to make sure documents sent in to our institutional repository (IR) are accessible. I won’t go into much detail, but since this new initiative was being launched, it was proposed to have the digital commons (our IR) page redesigned for the launch.
The old page was really just a lot of text, and too much of it. I’m also not sure how long it had been since anyone had revised it. The biggest problem was that it was difficult to find what you wanted, especially how or where to submit a document.
So the first mockup was actually given to me by the group working on the IR project. While a vast improvement over the original page, I was not a fan of the quadrant look. I’m probably biased because it was overused at my last work place, but regardless, I thought I could do better.
One thing that didn’t make sense to me was why you would have a link to a search page instead of just building in a search on the page (same with the news). While a search box was thought of, I’m not sure how it would’ve worked into the square design. I was actually working on the Articles redesign around the same time, so I ended up using some of the ideas I had floating around in my head already.
The colours I used were based on the first mockup, which were in turn based on the IR site’s colours.
The redesigned page came out pretty much exactly as the mockup. However, the project members called me the day after to tell me that the green shows as a very ugly yellow if the screen or projector is not properly calibrated. So, I ended up changing the colours to our library’s colours.
Most of the text that was on the original page is now on the About page linked from this landing page. I think it’s a huge improvement, so hopefully it helps to encourage more of our users to submit things to our IR.
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