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Packin’ up, shippin’ out April 17, 2009

Posted by davidjdahl in Activity.
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Thanks for your input!  From the looks of it, most of you like the prototype for the homepage (70% of thumbs are pointing up!).  For those who aren’t as impressed, we’re still working on things – let us know what you’d like to see.

So what have we been working on?

The library web committee has been hard at work over the past two weeks, putting together a preliminary web-based prototype.  Now, we’ve shipped it out (emailed it, that is) to the usability lab at University of Baltimore for some offsite usability testing over the next few weeks.  Three groups of graduate students studying interaction design will spend hours testing participants, analyzing results, and compiling reports for us to use as we refine our designs.

What is usability?

Usability is what makes your VCR “a piece of junk” when it eats your videotape even though you put it in upside-down, it’s why your car has keyless entry (those locks are hard to find in the dark), and it’s why everyone loves Apple products. Oh no wait, that’s aesthetics (jk).

Usability is the perspective that every mistake the user makes reflects poorly on the product’s (in this case, the website’s) design.  By focusing on the usability of our design, we can produce a website that is easy to learn, use, and remember.  Though it’s most likely impossible to make something 100% usable, it’s a goal that we feel is worthy of our continued effort.

Stay tuned for results…

The birth of a new website April 6, 2009

Posted by davidjdahl in Designs.
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At our last committee meeting, we began making some prototypes of the new library website.  As a result we now have a preliminary homepage design.  We hope that you’ll find it cleaner and visually more pleasing than the current homepage without making it difficult to access the things you really need.

An initial prototype of the new library homepage

An initial prototype of the new library homepage

There is a “Quick Tools” area for those items you use the most, a centralized search box with options for getting to the resources you need, and news items that spotlight new resources, activities, and events at Cook Library.  Amidst all this we’ve kept the familiar three-category navigation scheme: Research, Services, and About Cook.  Hovering over one of the three labels will produce a drop-down menu of items like Research Databases, Citing Sources, etc.

Nothing is set in stone yet, so let us know what you think of our new design.

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