During my senior year, I worked part-time as a UX Assistant for the UCSD Library in redesigning the library website. I spent about 13 hours a week from October 2016 until June 2017 working on this project alongside my normal courseload.
As the UX Assistant, I synthesized user research done by my team, created visuals to win over difficult stakeholders at the library, and gave insight on how to improve various aspects of the UCSD Library website.
CURRENT DESIGN EVALUATION
I performed a heuristics evaluation of the current library site design and found that the site was difficult to navigate and cluttered with dead links and outdated pages.
As I learned, most of the decisions for the old website design were made in the interests of various library departments to promote their groups’ materials rather than in the interests of the users and their experience.
The team had already gathered data through Google Analytics, user interviews, and online tests to understand the users’ needs for the library website. Looking through this data, we found that the main user groups for the library site are undergraduate students (or students with less research experience), graduate students (or students with more research experience), faculty and staff, and visitors in descending order.
To convey this information to other library groups, I created diagrams to help visualize the primary and overlapping tasks of our different user groups.
It took several iterations to achieve the approved site map. We decided to use verbs rather than nouns as our top labels to reduce cognitive load and were careful to avoid confusing language or librarian terminology that our users may not be familiar with. We also needed to cater to the interests of the various library groups who owned their own sections of the site.
REDESIGNING THE HOMEPAGE
After doing some competitive analysis on other university library websites, such as Northwestern and Cornell, I created a low-fidelity mockup for UCSD Library’s homepage.
My design as well as the wireframes created by other members of my team were taken into consideration when the new homepage was created.
TESTING AND ITERATION
We tested the new homepage design with a first-click test to see if our new information architecture made sense to our users and to receive any other feedback.
I coded the comments we got and found that the new design was generally well-received and needed just a few adjustments to improve usability.
The new UCSD Library site was launched shortly after I completed my senior year. I’m proud to have been able to work on this project and gain insight on the processes to redesign a website when many stakeholders are involved.