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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign INF385E Information Architecture and Design I Prof. Fleming Seay 12.04.2008

Students: Erik Beck Pasquale J. Festa Ame Wongsa


A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Contents Executive Summary .................................................................................................................3 Mission and Vision...................................................................................................................4 Audience ...................................................................................................................................6 TLA Officers and Members..................................................................................................6 Library and Education Professionals..................................................................................6 Non-Professionals and the General Public ........................................................................7 Audience Analysis ................................................................................................................7 Stakeholders .........................................................................................................................8 Stakeholder Questionnaire....................................................................................................10 Context ................................................................................................................................10 Content................................................................................................................................13 Users....................................................................................................................................14 Comments ...........................................................................................................................14 Lessons Learned.....................................................................................................................16 Heuristic Evaluation: General Organization and Content..............................................16 Navigation...........................................................................................................................16 Labeling...............................................................................................................................17 Content Analysis.................................................................................................................17 Conclusion ..........................................................................................................................18 Strategic Planning ..................................................................................................................20 Organization .......................................................................................................................20 Navigation...........................................................................................................................20 Global Navigation...........................................................................................................21 Local Navigation.............................................................................................................22 HotLinks..........................................................................................................................22 Events Calendar..............................................................................................................23 Customization.....................................................................................................................24

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

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Timeline and Schedule ..........................................................................................................26 Implementation......................................................................................................................29 Golden Paths.......................................................................................................................29 Sample Golden Path: Nominate a Librarian for a TLA Award ...................................29 Original Awards Section ................................................................................................29 Redesigned Awards Section Golden Path.....................................................................30 The “Nominate a Librarian� Golden Path ....................................................................30 Blueprints ...............................................................................................................................32 Current TLA Website Blueprint ........................................................................................32 Redesigned TLA Website Blueprints ................................................................................35 Mockups..................................................................................................................................40 Rough Wiki Mockup ..........................................................................................................40 Original Concept Mockups ................................................................................................41 Screen Shots ...........................................................................................................................48 Current TLA Design Screen Shots ....................................................................................48 Redesigned Website Screenshots......................................................................................50

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Executive Summary Today, the Texas Library Association is host to over 7200 members and is the largest state library association in the country. With such a monumental accomplishment to take pride in along with a continuing and unwavering focus on strengthening and supporting the libraries of the State of Texas, it is necessary for the Texas Library Association to put forth an image and presentation of its professional abilities for the public to see that reflects such a grand performance. As a presence on the web has become imperative for both organizational marketing as well as providing public information, it is necessary that the Texas Library Association redesign its website to both illustrate its professional nature as well as aid in its mission to promote, support and improve library services in the state of Texas. A critique of the current Texas Library Association website (www.txla.org) leads us to find a number of architecture and design choices that have been implemented which are inefficient and hamper the organization in achieving its goals. In general, the lack of a formalized and consistent navigation system creates a sense of chaotic and unorganized structure to the website. In addition, the implementation of scripting languages make the site unusable or, at least, broken in appearance to users utilizing particular browser types. Lastly, the haphazard visual design, text usage, color palette, and image choices all make the site look haphazardly put together, unprofessional and visually jarring. In undertaking a redesign of the Texas Library Association website we have set a number of goals to achieve in regards to updating the site in terms of both organization and interface. This strategic planning document will serve as an explanation of the methodologies, practices and tactical reasoning we will utilize to bring such a project to fruition.

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Mission and Vision It is our mission and vision to redesign the Texas Library Association website in a manner that maximizes effect for its stakeholders as well as compensates its user bases of both library professionals and the general public. In creating this strategic planning document we have come to some conclusions in terms of what we wish to achieve through the undertaking of a Texas Library Association website redesign: 1.

We envision a user interface that is sleek and well organized that will allow users to easily access and find information through intuitive cues that would be successful whether the particular user is a new or returning user.

2. It is our vision to create a completely new visual identity for the Texas Library Association that will speak to its professional standing, character and integrity as one of the largest and most premier library associations in the country. 3. Our mission is design a site based on sound organizational principles that utilizes a consistent and manageable layout that will allow the website to grow into the future with the organization itself.

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign Audience Stakeholder Questionnaire

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Audience The Texas Library Association is an organization that aids, advocates and provides information to members of the library and information professional community. It is necessary to keep in mind that the association’s website provides information to members of the general public, as well. In conducting a Google Search for “Texas Libraries” we found that the current TLA site shows up as one of the first 5 search results, illustrating its prominence in terms of accessibility to users on the Web. In coming to our initial understanding of the user population for conducting a redesign of the TLA website, we imagine a primary user base that is made up of three distinct audiences

TLA Officers and Members TLA Members and Association Officers have the luxury of understanding the inner workings of the organization and what types of information the association may be able to provide to its users. As this group of the user base is already accustomed in regards to what TLA may do for them, a chief goal for servicing this user group is a matter of being able to reorganize and restructure the site to provide users with the quick and easy access to the information and communication services they utilize most often.

Library and Education Professionals As the TLA is a central hub for library professionals across the state of Texas, it is necessary that the website redesign be able to serve members from a broad geographic area. In addition, the TLA website may be utilized by members of the Education sector in Texas for accessing information about libraries in their area. As these two user groups have a reciprocal relationship and work in tandem with one another, it would be necessary for the site, in its architecture and design, to be able to offer on demand information in regards to the organization’s services as well as take on the role of a communications switchboard for allowing connections between the association, its members and those who would most require their services and collaborate with them on programs and projects.

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Non-Professionals and the General Public The final user group we conceive as using the TLA website is the general public. As this user group is made up of a dynamic and varying series of individuals (i.e. young students looking for help with school projects, older citizens looking for programs and exhibits being offered by public libraries) it is necessary that the architecture of the website be intuitive enough to allow less knowledgeable internet users find the information they need all the while visually pleasing enough to keep these casual users interested in exploring what the organization has to offer. Of the three user schemes it can be said that this is the user group posing the most difficult of problems in regards to designing for functionality and aesthetics.

Audience Analysis When it comes to understanding the audience for a Texas Library Association website redesign it is necessary to keep in mind that the site design, architecture and services should be able to fulfill the needs not only of its current user base, but expand its appeal to a new class of users. The current TLA website is predominantly utilized by officers and members of the association itself for the sake of communicating and coordinating association events. From a casual survey of librarians regarding useful resources on the current TLA website, the majority expressed that they only accessed the site to utilize its JobLink service. In addition to this feedback, the same level of users admitted to not being members of TLA and expressed that they saw little advantage in joining. When questioned on the website’s current design all users stated that the interface was jarring, unprofessional, counterintuitive and difficult to understand. In addition to this user base made up of professional librarians, it is understood that some of the services and resources offered by the organization’s website would be useful to members of the general public. Legislative advocacy, age appropriate reading lists and library news can all be accessed by the general public at the www.txla.org. With all of this information taken into account, it is apparent that the TLA user base is broader than just its members and officers and that a redesign of the site will need to take into account the architecture, format and cues that the general public has come to feel comfortable with in terms of page design and site architecture. When approaching a strategic plan for redesigning the TLA website it is necessary to take into account the fact that the site must be optimized and strong enough to give existing users the tools and services they will continue to utilize in a new manner that does not stray too far from the process they Page | 7


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have become accustomed to. At the same time we must conceptualize a strategy that takes into account the new, unaccustomed user base that the organization is trying to reach and understand that the usability needs of this particular subset may require special attention in the design process.

Stakeholders In order to gain a better grasp of the context around which txla.org was built and maintained, the nature of its content, and behavior of its users, we conducted a correspondence interview with the site’s current webmaster, asking fifteen or so questions we felt were vital to our redesign project. From this interview, we obtained the following information: The stakeholder explained that the primary purpose of txla.org is to provide members with a portal to services and an interface for communication within the organization. She said that the site’s secondary purpose is to inform a larger audience of the importance of libraries to the state and individual communities, as well as to provide timely updates of library news. TLA members commonly use the site to learn about and register for continuing educational opportunities, track legislative issues and activities as they pertain to libraries and the profession of librarianship, maintain a connection and identity with smaller groups in the association, submit applications and nominations for awards, scholarships and grants, participate in surveys, transact association business and find information on various libraryrelated topics and activities. Although the stakeholder made no specific requests, it is apparent that any redesign of txla.org should emphasize these functions as the site’s highest priority. Responding to our inquiry into the history of txla.org’s previous iterations, the stakeholder told us that the early site was concentrated around membership registration, continuing education, the organization’s publications, and history of the association. The site first went online during the midnineties. Certainly much has changed since then. New demands have been placed on txla.org, and our redesign will need to introduce a number of new functions and amenities to satisfy these demands. However, acknowledgment of the site’s fundamental purpose and initial reason for being is just as important. Not only must our redesign present new capabilities to the user, it must also provide the same services users have always enjoyed and, if possible, improve access to those services. We asked the stakeholder if TLA had crafted any goals for txla.org. She said that members have in greater frequency been requesting more social networking capability, more database driven content

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and increased interactivity for sending and receiving information. When asked specifically about audience feedback, the stockholder responded that users have traditionally requested directional help for navigating the site and reported malfunctions in site’s content and functionality whenever they occurred. Lately, however, users have been suggesting that wiki pages be introduced to the site. Given the considerable amount of third party contribution to txla.org, the large number of satellite sites maintained externally and stated interest in member networking and communications, use of wiki pages would very likely prove beneficial in that they would formalize member contribution and collaboration and establish navigational parameters governing its access. It would greatly improve both visual and informational content too and effectively resolve the current problem of jumbled design interests and cognitive hierarchies. The stakeholder indicated to us that while most of the units of TLA maintain their own individual sites, all changes and updates to those sites are sent to her for her approval and implemented by her alone. Implementation of wikis would remove this extra administrative work while at the same time centralizing content into individual pages rather that satellite sites. Additionally, members would enjoy greater freedom of communication by being able to alter site content at will. The webmaster could act as a moderator rather than administrator. Overall, the stakeholder envisioned these three main improvements to the site’s functionality: •

Member collaboration and communication by means of wiki

Consolidation of more extensive areas of content into searchable databases

Indexing of site and implementation of an effective search tool

Surprisingly, the stakeholder did not express concern for the site’s navigation. Obviously, before any wikis, databases or meta-labels can be applied to txla.org, something must be done about the site’s navigational interface.

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Stakeholder Questionnaire Below is a copy of the correspondence between our group and the TLA web administrator. The correspondence interview was an attempt to again information regarding the user population and stakeholder vision for the site redesign.

As I had mentioned, we will need to know some information about txla.org’s content, its users and the context within which content is offered to users and users’ access to content. This information will contribute greatly to the success of our redesign project. The following are some questions we hope that you will answer to the best of your ability. I have divided the questions into three categories relating to context, content and users so as to give you an idea of the kind of information we are seeking with each question. At the end, feel free to offer any further input that you believe would be useful to the redesign. Once again, we thank you for your cooperation and your receptivity to this project.

Context It would be helpful to know if there are any documents or written statements describing the site’s mission, goals or intended purpose. Access to such documents would assist us in maintaining continuity with TLA’s needs and expectations during the course of the redesign: 1.

As you would define it, what is the site’s current purpose? What kinds of functions are it intended to perform? To what degree is it able to accomplish these functions?

Txla.org exists to provide TLA members with a portal to services and an interface for communications. A secondary purpose of the site is to inform the larger audience of the status and importance of libraries and librarians in the state of Texas and beyond. On txla.org, members of the Texas library community learn about and register for continuing education opportunities; track legislative issues and activities; maintain an identity and connection within smaller groups of the association; submit applications and nominations for awards, scholarships, and grants; participate in surveys; transact association business; and find information on various library-related topics and activities. As TLA has expanded its web presence, the challenge of presenting information and services in an intuitive and timely manner has similarly increased.

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2. You mentioned that this current interface has been in operation for around a decade. How was the site different when it was originally constructed? What are some of the major things that have been added to it over the years? Knowing the site’s lifecycle would contribute greatly to our understanding of the content’s hierarchy. The original site consisted mostly of general association pages offering information about membership, continuing education, publications, history of the association, etc. TLA has many subgroups or units – divisions, round tables, interest groups, and committees. Most have now developed an autonomous presence on the TLA web. A few years ago the secure part of the site was added. Access to the secure site is from the TLA homepage and various internal pages on the public site The secure site is where members (and nonmembers, in some cases) go for the majority of interactive functions. For your project, the public site is the logical focus; but we are interested, of course, in your perspective on how the functions of the two areas could be better integrated for our patrons.

3. How do you, as site administrator, interact with the TLA community (officers, members, users)? Members email or call with any website-related concerns or questions.

4. It appears that TLA maintains its own server. Is this the case? What technical limitations should we consider when constructing this redesign? In essence, there are two components: www.txla.org, the public part of the site hosted at hosting.com; and https://secure.txla.org, the primarily members only section, which is housed on a server at the Texas Library Association. Rewarding technical limitations, we’re in the process of initiating a technology inventory to help establish paths to improved capabilities and expanded services. Traditionally, the public site has been kept technologically simple to insure universal access. TLA web policy and guidelines are at http://www.txla.org/html/weborg.html and http://www.txla.org/html/webguide.html. As you can see, they’re quite out-of-date.

5. What future content or services are planned for the site? What are TLA’s short- and long-term goals in respect to web presence?

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Members are requesting more social networking capability, more database-driven content, and increased interactivity for submitting and retrieving information. Over the past few years, we’ve moved from discussion lists to blogs and are now responding to a clamor for wikis. It would be preferable to be more proactive and intentional in our growth – to be anticipating rather than responding. We desperately need a search engine. Our current hosting arrangement contends that our site can’t be indexed because of their server configuration.

6. Are there any other stakeholders to this site whom we should consider contacting? TLA is a member-driven organization, so pertinent committees and task forces will be consulted/notified before major changes are actually implemented regarding the website. We were gearing up for a site overhaul anyway; but since no directions have yet been set, your efforts may inform some of the steps we take.

7. We notice that the more germane domain name tla.org is currently occupied by what appears to be a squatter site. What’s the story there? Have requested rights to the domain name from this individual? The domain tla.org was already taken in 1992 back when we were creating our initial web presence. The Three Letter Acronym (tla) group was unwilling to relinquish the domain, which they secured many years before our approach. That's why we settled on txla.org.

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Content 1.

Where does content for the site originate? We know that there are a number of external sites that are incorporated into txla.org’s architecture. Who maintains these sites? Are you in communication with these other administrators? Do you coordinate with them?

Content comes from TLA staff and also from TLA units, which ideally have webmasters. The secure site was previously managed by a network admin, but that position has been outsourced. Various staff members are involved in coordinating projects for the secure site with contract programmers. 2. Does TLA have any established policies governing what content must be included on the site? Units are asked to include a current list of officers and a copy of their bylaws on their site. Additionally, each unit site should have the TLA logo or TLA footer on its homepage. 3. How often is the site updated? In what areas? By who is it updated? I maintain the public part of the site – developing and updating the association information pages and overseeing updates to the unit sites. Unit webmasters send updates as email attachments, which I review and post. There is no direct ftp access to the site for members. The homepage is updated as needed while most unit and association pages have a more seasonal flow. 4. Do you maintain a controlled vocabulary for the site (consistent terms and labels that must be sustained)? No. 5. Is there any content not currently included on the existing site, which you would like to see included? Various units have plans for adding content in terms of information-gathering forms and searchable databases (Genealogy Round Table), content-specific links and resources (Recruitment & Retention), etc. As unit leadership and membership changes from year-to-year, so does the vision and activity of each unit. 6. Are there any legal issues that impact the content management process which we need to know about? None come to mind. As librarians, though, our membership is very sensitive to copyright issues.

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Users If you have any statistics of the site’s usage, this would be extremely helpful. Statistic might include information on hits per page and navigation patterns for different users. Also, it would be good to know about any user feedback you’ve received lately. 1. Who does the site serve? Who are the intended audiences? 2. Why do people come to the site? 3. What types of tasks should users be able to perform?

I think I covered much of this in the “Context” section. TLA has approximately 7500 members; they use the site for information, interaction, and transaction. The typical feedback is when a member can’t find something on the site, when a form isn’t working, or when an error has been spotted. That type of communication hasn’t increased much over the years. Queries about implementing data-driven updates, social networking, e-commerce, etc., are increasing. We have no current stats that I know of. Usage varies greatly according to the time of year and events that are occurring.

Comments Please make mention of pertinent points or ideas that were not covered in the interview. We welcome any input you wish to offer. Let me know if any of these answers need clarification. We’re excited about your undertaking and very interested in the outcome. Thanks, Mary Ann

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign Lessons Learned

Heuristic Evaluation Navigation Labeling User Input Content Analysis Conclusion

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Lessons Learned Heuristic Evaluation: General Organization and Content Content on the TLA website does not appear to follow a consistent organization scheme. Table 1 shows how the site’s most important navigation elements categorize information on the site. On the front page, a set of selection menus organizes the TLA site into four sections, while on the sitemap an outline groups TLA pages under six different categories. The effects of inconsistent organization extend to all navigation elements on the site. With no overarching hierarchy, global and local navigation cannot be created, so site navigation depends exclusively on content. Presently, visitors must navigate the TLA website almost entirely through contextual links. Having users discover content through associations severely hinders usability of the site. A major task for the redesign will be to organize the content of the site in a hierarchical structure on which global and local navigation can be built. A clear organization scheme, global and local navigation will provide a foundation to improving the usability of the site.

Site Areas

Organization Categories

Front Page

Join TLA, About TLA, Events, Resources

Sitemap

About TLA, Events, Links, Membership, Publications, Resources and Services

Global Navigation

TLA Home, TLA Units, Publications, District Meetings, Govt. Affairs, Members Only Table 1: TLA website organization schemes

Navigation As mentioned above, current dependency on contextual navigation creates many problems in the site usability. Lack of conventional global and local navigation makes users depend heavily on recall to move around the site. It would be easy for users to get lost, make errors, or forget how to retrace their steps once they click through a couple of links. The current site does have a consistent navigation bar but it is located at the end of the page. It can be easily missed since users would have to scroll on long pages to reach it. Furthermore the links on this navigation bar acts more as hotlinks than as link to top categories. The front page navigation menu uses both JavaScript and java applet to function. As a result, they will not work for users who disable JavaScript or java applet on their browser for security reasons. For the redesign, we will not use these technologies for navigation, since they are unnecessary and actually hinder Page | 16


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site accessibility. Adding local and global navigation will also provide users with a sense of context. These navigation systems would change status according to the user’s location in the content hierarchy.

Labeling The dependency on contextual links for navigation also causes problems in labeling. Since content can be access through different context, labeling of the same information ranges from being slightly inconsistent (Membership vs. Members Only) to being completely different terms (Government Affairs and Legislative Advocacy link to the same page). For more examples see the content map of the resources section. Local navigation will help reduce the need for a majority of current contextual link since users will be able to access similar content by quickly recognizing buttons instead of reading for context surrounding a link. We plan on working on a controlled vocabulary, but given that the site contains more than 500 pages, we will focus on consistency for the most important content first.

Content Analysis Often times a contextual link confuses a visitor by linking to a page with more than one content type. For example, the resource page link to the “Awards, Scholarship and Grants” page through 3 different links, “Awards” “Scholarship” and “Grants”, on the same page. While linking through different context may seem logical for the content creator, they are usually frustrating for the user who may be revisiting pages a couple of times through these contextual links. Each page should have only one link to a different page or content on the linked to page should be divided into two separate pages. To improve local organization, we also plan to separate some links from the main content by adding a consistent “Quick Link” section. We will add a more structured local content style guide, which will help organize current and future content. After mapping and indexing all content txla.org has to offer, it is clear that the site’s greatest shortcoming is its lack of global navigational options. While dropdown menus do exist on the main page and a sitemap is offered, these offer only heading paths to cover pages within which truly deep information is contained. The majority of txla.org’s content must be navigated to by means of hyper textual links embedded in the informational content of each page. Often the user is presented with a page of links as a means of navigation and nothing else. Local navigation is the user’s only option on txla.org. We believe that the introduction of global navigational method would not only improve access to more

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remote areas of content, but also help consolidate some of the page sprawl that has resulted from the navigation-via-content model. The now ubiquitous cover pages could be done away with completely. Content linked from those pages could be accessed directly through a navigational bar, thus shortening the overall path of the user as he or she moves about the site. Also, since a global navigational system could allow the user to move horizontally across subject headings, cross-content links, which are a staple of the current site, could be eliminated altogether. The goal of our global navigational system would be to make it impossible for any user to ever get lost in txla.org.

Conclusion We will focus on developing a consistent organization scheme for the major areas of the site. At the same time we will create global and local navigation system. Once local content follows a more structured layout, we will be able to remove redundant contextual links that were once the only means for embedded navigations. Fixing these major organizational issues will improve many of the less severe problems of the site. Of course, reevaluation of our new organization scheme and our strategy will be crucial to the success of our redesigned site.

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign Strategic Planning

Organization Navigation Customization

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Strategic Planning Organization After mapping and indexing all content txla.org has to offer, it is clear that the site’s greatest shortcoming is its lack of global navigational options. While dropdown menus do exist on the main page and a sitemap is offered, these offer only heading paths to cover pages within which truly deep information is contained. The majority of txla.org’s content must be navigated to by means of hyper textual links embedded in the informational content of each page. Often the user is presented with a page of links as a means of navigation and nothing else. Local navigation is the user’s only option on txla.org. We believe that the introduction of global navigational method would not only improve access to more remote areas of content, but also help consolidate some of the page sprawl that has resulted from the navigation-via-content model. The now ubiquitous cover pages could be done away with completely. Content linked from those pages could be accessed directly through a navigational bar, thus shortening the overall path of the user as he or she moves about the site. Also, since a global navigational system could allow the user to move horizontally across subject headings, cross-content links, which are a staple of the current site, could be eliminated altogether. The goal of our global navigational system would be to make it impossible for any user to ever get lost in txla.org. As navigation systems and organizational structures overlap each other in terms of function, we believe a well structured navigation system would aid us in reorganizing the site contents in a more intuitive and easily searchable/browsable manner.

Navigation In regards to designing, planning, and implementing a navigation strategy we have chosen to follow tried and true methodologies that are standard to most contemporary site designs. For the sake both of simplifying and of organizing our navigation system we have chosen to implement both global and local navigation bars along with a “hotlink” section that facilitates access to most used resources. Along with this, we plan to include on the site’s cover page an events calendar to convey information regarding association happenings.

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Global Navigation Our global navigation scheme will be consistent throughout the site and consist of 6 content sections that will house information most pertinent to each subject heading. We plan on utilizing CSS along with HTML to keep these menus always present no matter what particular page of the site the user is viewing. In addition, color will be utilized to make it apparent to the user his or her location in the site. Inactive global tabs will be a lighter color than the currently active global section and communicate to the user just where he or she is on the site. The global navigation tabs will be placed at the top of the page, just under a graphical header baring the name and logo of the Texas Library Association. In choosing our 6 global links we reorganized the current TLA website contents into a series of containers we felt to be most intuitive in regards to information discovery and retrieval. Of the 6 options, 4 are for particular informational topics, 1 is a link to bring the user back to the initial home page and 1 is for Contact information. In this manner we have designed a global navigation system that allows a user to progress through the entire site’s contents as if it were a book, cover to cover, while allowing another to easily jump to an area where specific information needs may be met. Our global navigation currently utilizes these headings: 1.

Home: The main landing page consisting of current news headlines and updates regarding the association.

2. TLA Units: Information regarding the organization’s various member groups, interest groups, task forces and committees. 3. Events: Past, Present and Future TLA events and information. 4. Services: Resources, Scholarships, Education Materials, Partnerships and Public Relation tools for both library professionals and the general public. 5. Publications: TLA Association and Unit publications. 6.

Contact Us: Contact information and Web-based commenting.

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Local Navigation In addition to using global navigation we shall implement a local navigation sidebar at the left of our page that allows users to navigate subtopics within each global category. Topics of interest (for instance, the Texas Library Journal under Publications) are organized and displayed in relation to their parent headings. As users navigate through the various local links they will be reminded of their current location through the use of a topic heading within the content panel at the center of the page. We do not plan on using a breadcrumb scheme as this would use up valuable screen real estate or may cause the visual design of the page to become too cluttered for a user. Rather, we believe that the combination of the highlighted global tab at the top of the page along with the local page header within the content of the page is enough to help a user backtrack. In addition, the constant presence of the Home global tab acts as a panic button in the event that a user does become disoriented within the site. Local navigation links and topic headings will vary between global sections.

HotLinks Through user surveys and conversation with organization stakeholders it has become apparent that a few particular information resources are most important amongst everything available on the TLA Website. To help balance user needs and organization desires we have opted to create a small HotLinks section at the right-side of the cover/home page, which would house unique and highly visible button links that would allow users to easily access particular sections of the site with one simple click. Our choices for HotLinks and our rational for choosing these particular for are: 1.

Join TLA: As the Texas Library Association is an organization that finds its power in the individuals that choose to join and participate in its cause it made the most sense to give the opportunity to join particular prominence among all the information expressed on the screen. The TLA redesign is envisioned not only as an update of the existing site, but also as a new marketing and recruitment tool that may aid the association in taking on new members.

2. JobLine: As the vast majority of professional librarians we questioned regarding the TLA site stated that they only accessed the webpage to utilize the JobLine service, we felt that this Page | 22


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particular service should be given prominence and quick access within the site. Currently, the JobLine link is set apart from the site’s navigation scheme. Our redesign follows a similar model; however, we have chosen to move access to this area of the site into the actual body of the page rather than placing it in the “no-mans-land” of the extreme upper right-hand corner where it is currently situated. 3. TLA Blog: As TLA has implemented a blog to give members and the general public easy access to information regarding current and future happenings and events, we felt that this information resource, which also points to the association’s acceptance of new information technologies and services, merited representation in the HotLinks section. 4. Conference: TLA’s Annual Conference is the organization’s defining even and warrants placement in the HotLinks menu. Since the Annual Conference is host to some 7,200 members each year, information regarding this event must accessible and quickly retrievable rather than requiring a multitude of users to follow a series of links to arrive at this destination. Although this event takes place during a specific period within the year, organization of the event, coordination of vendors and planning updates are conducted all year long. Use of this link would be habitual.

Events Calendar While events are represented within the global navigation menu, we felt we needed to differentiate between contextual and logistical information about the events. If the global navigation event section concerns itself with information outlining event purpose and mission, the events calendar acts as a way of expressing more immediate information for those taking part in those events; namely date, time, place, directions, etc. As a number of association members work in professional capacities and their participation in the organization is limited by their schedules, we felt that expressing event information in a calendar format would allow these busy individuals to easily browse and access event information as it corresponds their availability. In addition, this would allow users to drill down events by particular day. Accessing the Events Calendar link above the calendar would provide users a top down view of all events for the year.

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

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Customization Our organizational strategy and design template improves TLA site customization in several ways. As our redesign mockup shows, division of content areas and navigation organizes the information on each TLA page logically and conventionally. The more structured style guide allows TLA webmasters to better customize each page without hindering the site navigation and usability. These improvements have been explained extensively in other sections of this report. Interestingly, using a more structured style template also improves the underlying code and the process of building and maintaining the site by naturally separating content and presentation. Ideally the redesign layout would be created using a mixture of html, CSS and PHP, which separate the site’s content, style and navigation respectively. The coding structures of the current TLA mixes these content and presentation instructions. While this method allows TLA webmasters to create each page independently, it is one major reason the site appears inconsistent as a whole. Each TLA page title appears in different style, color and location. For the redesign, TLA webmasters would continue to add content to the site in html. However, using CSS to manage content style would improve site consistency and allow TLA webmasters to focus more on content creation. The header, global navigation, local navigation and footer would be created into a template coded in PHP. Using a template would allow the site to be more flexible and extendable. For example if TLA webmasters needed to add a new link to the navigation or update information in the footer, they would only need to make the necessary changes to the template. All pages using the template will be updated with the new information. Alternatively the site can still be maintained by using html and CSS. Changes to the navigation would take more effort but would still be manageable. Without the PHP template the code would also be more straightforward and easier to debug. The redesign layout conforms to TLA’s policy to keep the public portion of the site technologically simple to insure universal access. In fact, removal of the JavaScript and java applet menu makes the redesign site more accessible than the current site. The new TLA design would improve navigation, consistency and extensibility and still be maintainable using the same technologies as the current site.

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign Implementation

Timeline and Scheduling Implementation

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Timeline and Schedule Date 10.03.2008

Milestone Project Proposal

10.10.2008

Initial Planning Document

10.17.2008

Milestone & Scheduling Document

Goals 1. Begin TLA website analysis 2. Make initial contact with Stakeholders/TLA concerning vision 3. Begin initial draft of User survey 1. Conduct Heuristics analysis of current site. 2. Map current website architecture and organization scheme 3. Review and research stakeholder input 4. Conduct casual user interviews for initial impressions 5. Distribute formal user surveys for detailed research 1. Conduct content analysis of website for building reorganization model 2. Collect and review User surveys to prioritize User needs 3. Begin visual identity research for marketing scheme 4. Strategy/Deep Dive meeting to develop Page | 26


A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

10.23.2008

Strategy Document

1.

2.

3.

4.

10.30.2008

Design Document

1. 2. 3.

4.

5. 11.06.2008

Implementation Progress I

1.

2.

2008

organization model Begin navigation model based off organization scheme developed Conduct 2nd stakeholder interview to receive feedback on findings. Begin graphics creation (font choice, color palette and logo design) for building organization personality. Create first wireframes and mockups from organization and navigation structure models Finalize navigation design. Finalize visual design choices. Exhibit design mock-ups to Stakeholders and Users. Begin CSS coding for navigation scheme and site consistency. Begin transposing site content to new HTML scheme. Revise mock-ups based on User and Stakeholder feedback. Finalize formal design elements Page | 27


A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

3. 11.13.2008

Implementation Progress II

1.

2.

3.

11.20.2008

Implementation Progress III

1. 2. 3.

12.04.2008

Final Presentation

1. 2. 3. 4.

2008

(font, color, and graphics) for implementation. Continue CSS and HTML coding for working model. Begin formalized mock-ups of nonfunctional site elements for demonstration. Finalize CSS coding for navigation and format consistency. Format page skeleton based on finalized design choices (font, graphics, and colors). Finalize content transposition. Conduct cross browser testing. Conduct usability study for feedback for final changes. Implement final changes from usability study. Proofread and Edit content for final drafting. Optimize CSS and HTML code for speed tweaking. Create final presentation utilizing working model and formal mock-ups.

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Implementation Because the original TLA website contains more than 500 pages of content and 68 independently managed subsites, we decided that restructuring the entire TLA website would be outside the scope of this redesign project. For the implementation of our information architecture, we plan to focus on the portal aspect of the TLA website and in crafting golden paths for the website’s most utilized resources as determined from our background research.

Golden Paths We plan to improve navigation and accessibility for the following activities: • • • • • • • •

Use JobLine Learn about latest TLA news and Events Learn about TLA and Join Find a specific unit homepage (ex. New Member Round Table) Nominate a librarian for a TLA Award Apply for a TLA Scholarship Learn about and register for Continuing Education Learn about current legislative issues and activities

Sample Golden Path: Nominate a Librarian for a TLA Award TLA recognizes contributions and excellence in the library profession by sponsoring and presenting the TLA Awards at their annual conference. An example of some of these awards include “Librarian of the Year”, “Lifetime Achievement”, and “Outstanding Services to Libraries” awards. TLA accepts nominations for these awards online. In addition to the TLA sponsored award, the TLA website also provides links to TLA Unit sponsored professional recognition awards and educational awards (scholarship, grants and stipends). Original Awards Section Navigation of the original Awards section relies on contextual links for access to subsequent pages. These links were often one-way navigational paths which make it easier for visitors to get lost. No method of recall is offered and cross-content navigation leads users away from desired path. The main Awards page lists different types of award but the list is incomplete. Clicking certain links under the Scholarship/Grants/Stipends section takes visitors to a separate Scholarship/Grants/Stipends page, but

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

there is no equivalent subsection of recognition awards. Other links take visitors to external sites or TLA subsite, and it is often difficult to determine where each list item links. Redesigned Awards Section Golden Path The redesigned Awards section organizes awards content into 4 distinct subsections: Awards, Scholarships, Grant and Stipend. The TLA Awards subsection links to the TLA Awards Nomination instructions and forms while other awards link to external pages for more information. Scholarships, Grant and Stipend which used to be combined and organized under “Special Purpose” “TLA Scholarship” and “Unit Sponsored” are now first organized according to the type of award, then by sponsors. The listing function of the main Awards page is now moved to an “Awards Index” page which organizes all awards by name, type and deadline and provides links to specific information for each award. The main Awards page highlights the most important categories across all awards types. The “Nominate a Librarian” Golden Path Beginning from the TLA website from page the first step for anyone interested in nominating a librarian is clear. The “Awards & Scholarships” section is distinct from the other global navigation choices. Once visitors are in the “Awards & Scholarship” section” they are directed to different areas of the page depending on their level of experience of the TLA website. Content of the main awards page highlights the most important awards instead of listing all awards giving new visitors a good scope of the type of resources the organization provides. For visitors looking for a specific type of award, the local navigation links, “Awards”, “Scholarships”, “Grants” and “Stipends” provide clear options for investigation. These sections would organize all awards that might be of interest to TLA visitors. A visitor looking for a specific award can use either the local navigation or the “Awards Index”. The local navigation also proved direct links to the recognition award nomination forms and the educational awards application form for individuals experienced with nominating or applying for TLA awards online.

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign Visual Resources

Blueprints Mockups Screenshots

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Blueprints Current TLA Website Blueprint

Illustration 1: Current TLA Site Architecture from Front Page

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 2: Current TLA Site Awards Section Architecture

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 3: Current TLA Site Publications Section Architecture Page | 34


A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Redesigned TLA Website Blueprints

Illustration 1: Redesigned Home and About Architecture

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 2: Redesigned TLA Network Architecture

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 3: Redesigned Events and Awards Architecture

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 4: Redesigned Resources Architecture

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 5: Redesigned Publications Architecture

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Mockups Rough Wiki Mockup

Illustration 1: Rough Wiki Mockup

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Original Concept Mockups

Illustration 1: Home Landing Page mock-up

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 2: About Us page mock-up

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 3: TLA Units page mock-up

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 4: Events Page mock-up

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 5: Services Page mock-up

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 6: Publications Page mock-up

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 7: Contact Us Page mock-up

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Screen Shots Current TLA Design Screen Shots

Illustration 1: Current TLA Main page Screen Shot

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 2: Current TLA Join TLA Page Screen Shot

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Redesigned Website Screenshots

Illustration 1: Main Page Screen Shot

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 2: About Us Screen Shot

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 3: TLA Community Screen Shot

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 4: Events Screen Shot

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 5: Awards and Scholarships Screen Shot

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 6: Resources Screen Shot

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A Strategy Document for the TLA Website Redesign

2008

Illustration 7: Publications Screen Shot

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