• 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 When I joined the team, their site had a lot of outdated information which made it difficult for patrons to find exactly what they were looking for.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 In addition to outdated content and broken links, the site was visually difficult to read, with a hodge-podge of multi-colored blocks of information.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.

The updated library pages now provide an easy-to-use (and 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.