Over the past few weeks, the web redesign team and the local library owners have been hard at work developing and deploying an audience research plan in collaboration with NewCity. A brand survey specific to each campus was widely distributed to faculty, staff, and students. The survey asked participants to choose words and images that best represent their library, and to reflect a bit on why they made those choices. We were thrilled to receive over 2,000 responses, along with a lot of thoughtful feedback that will help us make design decisions that are driven by local values and priorities.
Baseline usability testing was launched at Camden earlier this week and will be conducted over the next few weeks at RBHS, New Brunswick, and Newark. The usability study is looking at how users reach our site and complete common tasks, and also asks some more general exploratory questions that will help us understand how local sites might most effectively convey local information along with access to centrally provided resources. The studies differ slightly from unit to unit, depending on what the local library owner groups have defined as the most important tasks for their key stakeholder groups. Given this baseline information, we’ll be able to measure whether user perception and performance around these key tasks have improved during development and after launch. We’ll be sharing the results of our audience research before too long.
Through content analysis and interviews, NewCity has been digging into the ways content “happens” on our site. As a complex organization with many moving pieces and a vast amount of information to provide to a diverse body of users, content governance is a major challenge. This is going to be one of the most important aspects of the redesign: not just the site itself, but the development of a manageable, logical governance model that will enable us to maintain content that is accurate, fresh, and engaging.
Once the audience research data has been analyzed, the local library owner groups will each meet again with NewCity to synthesize the results and begin workshopping ideas, informed by the brand survey and usability studies. If you’re interested in contributing to the work around your unit’s aspirations for a new site, please check in with your project team representative. They can provide access to a virtual whiteboard where we’re tracking thoughts about values, impact, audiences, and success measures. The information gathered there will be wrapped up into the workshops later this summer.
As always, you’re welcome to reach out anytime with questions or comments. Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.