Increased the value of the library website as an easy-to-use resource for students and faculty

Basic Information Architecture to Improve User Experience

As Associate Librarian for Severn School, I was the designated content manager for the Zimmerman Library website. When I joined the team, their site had a lot of outdated information which made it difficult for patrons to find exactly what they were looking for.  They simply weren’t providing their community a good experience.

I recommended that we apply basic information architecture (IA) principles to reorganize the content and improve usability for students and faculty. I started the IA process by working with the Head and Assistant Librarians to identify their goals.

  • Provide clear, direct access to library online resources
  • Communicate the library’s mission and goals as an institution within the larger school
  • Provide basic library contact information

I then sifted through the content and aligned each piece with their goals. Anything that did not tie in, I replaced with more relevant information. In addition to outdated content and broken links, the site was visually difficult to read, with a hodge-podge of multi-colored blocks of information. There was too much content on too few pages without any obvious hierarchy. Focusing on the identified goals I added more pages to the site, each with a clear purpose and included internal links to help make natural connections explicit.

Coupled with a recent redesign of the entire Severn website, the updated library pages now provide an essential resource to the school community.


Creating additional pages to house the extensive library resources allows for a cleaner design and easier-to-find information.