Monday, June 22, 2015

How Do You Like Me Now?

You've probably noticed KLIC's webpage has undergone a lot of changes this year. We've modernized and simplified our website, making resources easier to access. These updates are the result of the hard work of our web team: Betsy Fronk, Susan Jennings, Brittany Richardson, and Elisabeth Ferguson. We recently spoke with our web team to see what goes into revamping a webpage.

When did you start working on the website re-design?

We began tweaking our old site when I [Susan] got here in 2012. I didn’t feel that the old site lent itself well to our patrons. It’s like trying to sell a beautiful house but the outside is all beat up, cluttered, and paint is peeling. A library website is the outside… it’s what people see… it’s the front door. You want to make the website user friendly, understandable and not too cluttered. Also, it needed a little updating. Times have changed for library websites. We have all these great resources but if it’s not intuitive, you are hiding these great resources.

How did you contribute? Did you have help from other campus tech experts?

I had a vision of what I wanted our website to be… our former content management system was cranky and required specialized expertise. I wanted a website that was easily maintained… one in which there could be more than one person maintaining it. I created a web team designed to look at all of these factors. This would allow divergent opinions and decisions. I have always felt that more heads are better than one. We explored using Drupal as our content management system but the learning curve is rather high. After the loss of our computer programming position, the web team decided that we would create our new website from our Libguide platform… a platform that was already paid for and use for our Assignment and Subject Guides. Using Libguides provided the flexibility we needed without having to have a degree in programming to maintain. I created a prototype of the home page that I wanted. Brittany Richardson, Elisabeth Ferguson and Betsy Fronk took those ideas and worked on them and improved upon them creating the colors, fonts, icons, and even the placement of features. Our goal was to create a welcoming site while taking advantage of the flexibility of the Libguide platform. We all knew a smattering of coding and helped one another on the style sheets. We also asked Bill Crum from IT Services on campus and technicians at Springshare (who owns Libguides) for help as well. Springshare also has an online community that is very giving and helpful as well. I think the four of us used our strengths to make a great page.


What was the biggest thing you wanted to change about the old website?

I wanted updated colors, fonts and images. An entire cosmetic make over. I also wanted it to be clearer for our users and more intuitive… less library jargon and more information provided in an easier to understand way. I wanted policies and procedures to be findable… I guess that’s the real key… I wanted things “findable.” I also wanted it to live somewhere besides on a campus server. If we have a power outage or internet outage on campus, patrons can still access our website. We also don’t have to babysit a physical server. That’s Springshare’s job!

What do you hope students/faculty will think of the new site?

Well… we hope they will like it and will use it. We hope it’s clearer and that they can get to what they need. We also hope that they will keep up with the many features, services and events that we offer.

Any features you'd like to highlight for people exploring the new site for the first time?

I would like them to take the time to explore the areas and provide us feedback. Follow us on our social media… I would also like them to notice the beautiful gallery of features that rotate that promote events, resources, and services offered. Also… try asking a question in the Ask Tigerpedia box… this is an effort we are making to put all campus information in just one place in order to give consistent and reliable information… from wherever a patron happens to be.

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