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Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 291 2017
experience and formal training. Lisa’s UX portfolio meant that she
understood the importance of web content to users. Lisa and Judith
proposed a part-time, temporary placement for Judith in ITS. Judith
would devote one day a week to the website redesign project for four
months to focus on the website’s content and contribute to the overall
process. Our supervisors and library administration accepted the
proposal and the placement began in July 2014. ITS provided a desk
for Judith and she was physically present in the department during her
placement day. Her home department redistributed some of her duties.
Judith’s work in ITS began with a content audit of the main library
website and roughly followed Rebecca Blakiston’s content strategy
best practices.12 As the months progressed and the team became more
integrated, Judith developed her skill set to increase her usefulness to
the project. She learned to use Drupal, the library website’s content
management system, allowing her to both edit content and complete
more advanced content-related tasks. She also helped with user
research and the usability testing Lisa was performing on alpha and
beta versions of the site. Due to the early successes of the project,
Judith’s time on the project was extended a further six months.
Short-Term Outcomes
The new website was better. We produced a beautiful website
that was selected as Usable Libraries’ “Usable Library of the
Month.”13 Our collaboration wasn’t the only reason the website
redesign was successful, of course; this was one of the first projects
to implement structured UX research and methodologies at all
stages of the project. The collaboration did, however, ensure that
the user-focused, evidence-driven design included a content
redesign. Our team received a UTL Staff Team Appreciation
and Recognition (STAR) award in the Innovation category.
We developed more technical skills. Our new skills freed up the
developers and systems librarian to focus on the more challenging
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