Architectural Strategy Overview Report

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					                            [ARCHITECTURAL STRATEGY REPORT] March 13, 2011

After conducting usability tests and card-sorting, I recommend that some changes be made to
the Information Architecture of the Horicon Public Library website.

The first thing that will change is the unnecessary “welcome” messages at the top of each page.
While those messages were intended to be friendly and give users an overview of what could
be accomplished on each page, a user in the test noted that the messages were “cheesy.”


The Global navigation structure was not as unusable as I anticipated. Nevertheless, a re-
organization is necessary to better serve users. The topical scheme will be restructured as
shown here:

My Account                         Home                                 How Do I?
Log In                             My Account                           Ask a librarian
Get a card                         Log In                               Access my account
Search for materials               Get a Card                           Renew materials
Books & More                       Interlibrary Loan                    Place a hold
New Books                          Books                                Find my PIN
Music, movies & Games              New Books                            Find an article
E-books                            Reviews                              Ask a librarian a question
Overdrive Audiobooks               E-books                              Download free e-books
Interlibrary loan                  E-audiobooks                         Download free audiobooks
Booklist                           Multimedia                           Get a card
Reviews                            Movies                               Print in the library
Events                             Music                                Use wifi in the library
Summer Library Program             Games                                Do research
Adults                             Resources
Kids                               Articles                             Support Your Library
Teens                              Research                             Donate
Knitting                           Jobs & Money                         Volunteer
Suggestions                        Health                               Become a Friend of the Library
Library News                       Genealogy                            Apply for a library job
Facebook                           Science & Tech                       Calculate your library’s value
Twitter                            Education
Friendfeed                         Events                               [Audience navigation icons]

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                             [ARCHITECTURAL STRATEGY REPORT] March 13, 2011

Photos                              Kids                               Kids
Resources                           Teens                              Teens
AskAway Reference                   Adults                             Adults
Databases                           Summer Library Program
Articles                            Local News                         [Upcoming events
Video library tour                  HPL Blog                           Kids
Job resources                       HPL Photos                         Teens
Tax information                     Community                          Adults
How do I?                           About Us
Find an article                     Staff                              Ask a Librarian
Do research                         Services                           HPL Librarians
Renew materials                     Policies                           AskAway 24/7 Reference
Place a hold                        History
Print in the library                Site Map
Access account                      Contact Us
Get a card
About us
Friends of the library
Library value
Site map
Contact us

The usability tests and card-sorting reveal that some of the current information architecture is
inconsistent with users’ mental models. For example, only one user knew what “Databases”
were, and some of the users looked under “Books & More” for articles, which were located
under “Resources”.

Also critical to the navigation of this site will be newly-added location data: path breadcrumbs,
a “you are here” highlight of the page that is being viewed in the global navigation menu, and
changing the color of visited links.

In the current site, quite a bit of the navigation is hypertext and non-linear. While this was
easier to create than a strong navigation structure, the users found it difficult or impossible to
find some of the links that were in lists, even when the lists were broken up into small chunks.

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                                   [ARCHITECTURAL STRATEGY REPORT] March 13, 2011

Also, the roll-over highlight of the links is gold, which does not stand out well against the light
blue-green of the main content areas. These links will be changed to a darker color.

HPL Hypertext navigation failure


Several parts of the site will be better served if searchable databases are created, so users may
find precisely the information they are looking for. The databases will include: policies, Board
of Trustee minutes, Review lists, and a database of databases. The search system will need to
be optimized so that global navigation links aren’t in the search results, as they are with the
free Google search tool.

These databases will have some metadata in common, such as title, author or creator, location,
keywords and subject headings.

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                            [ARCHITECTURAL STRATEGY REPORT] March 13, 2011

Policies                Board of Trustee          Review lists               Databases

Title                   Title                     Title                      Title
Author                  Author                    Author                     Author
Subject Heading(s)      Subject Heading(s)        Subject Heading(s)         Subject Heading(s)
Keywords                Keywords                  Keywords                   Keywords
Location                Location                  Location                   Location
Format                  Format                    Format                     Format of items in
Description             Description               Description                Description
Date                    Date                      Date
Revised from other      Trustees present          Genre
                        Staff/Other present       Media
                                                  Items mentioned
                                                  See also

For example, the metadata for a recommendation list could look like this:

Title                   Science Fiction Recommendations
Author                  Shannon B.
Subject Heading(s)      Science fiction, Reviews, Recommendations
Keywords                Scifi, Science Fiction, classics, comedy,
Date                    1 April 2011
Format                  List
Genre                   Science fiction
Media                   Books
Description             This recommendation list highlights some of Shannon’s favorite
                        science fiction…
Items mentioned         Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by
                        Robert Heinlein, Eon by Greg Bear, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by
                        Douglas Adams, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, Cryptonomicon by
                        Neal Stephenson…
See Also [links]        Fantasy Recommendations, Teen Science Fiction Podcast, The SF List
                        website, Novelist recommendations, Booklist…

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                            [ARCHITECTURAL STRATEGY REPORT] March 13, 2011


The structure of the webpages will shift somewhat, leaving discrete areas for different types of
information. Several boxes will be opened up to display different types of information. For
example, the Jobs & Money page will have four boxes for information. One will feature
highlights: events or new resources users may be interested in. Three boxes will showcase
databases, pathfinders or tips. Local navigation will be added for the subpages. On the Jobs &
Money page, this local navigation will be an organized collection of outside links, which will be
labeled “Useful Sites for Jobs & Money Information” so that users know that these are links to
external sites. The links will open up in a new tab.

The most important links will be kept “above the fold”, at a screen resolution of 1024x768, and
will have some sort of graphical representation, so they are not simply lists of links. Any non-
HTML links will be noted as such, so users are not surprised when a .pdf downloads, but I will
attempt to remove all .pdfs from the site.

Internal navigation on lengthy pages, such as the policy page, will allow users to jump to the
information they need quickly.


A thesaurus will be developed as policies, databases, minutes and recommendation lists are
assigned metadata. For example, policies will always be labeled “policies” and not “policy” or
“rules”, though “rules” may be a useful keyword.


Ongoing tests will be performed on the website to ensure that users are able to swiftly and
confidently locate information.

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