Website Redesign: User-Centered Design

The redesign of the JMU Libraries website began by identifying the primary users of the site and their needs.  Throughout the process, the design team returned to the users again and again.  This style of web design is often called user-centered design.

Here are some of the user-centered steps that went into the redesign:


Ask the Library
As part of the website redesign, the team studied Ask the Library questions to identify user needs that could be more easily answered by the website. 

 

Q: How do I renew a book?
Q: What’s my password for databases?
Q: How do I find articles about…
Q: Do you have the journal I need?


Website Traffic
Using WebTrends software, the team identified the most popular pages on the site to decide which pages should be emphasized, and which ones de-emphasized, in the redesign.

 

Graph of Website Traffic


Anecdotes
The design team involved library staff members who work directly with students at service desks and in the classroom. The anecdotes these front line staff offered helped in decision-making.

 

 Photo of a Librarian Working with Students


Demographic and Survey Data
Researching current literature as well as recent JMU surveys revealed basic information about the target users and their views of the web and the library.

 

  • Of all JMU degree-seeking undergrads, 60% live off campus. 1

  • 33% of JMU students say that they spend 11-20 hours a week on studying and assignments. 2 

  • 48% of JMU students intend to eventually obtain a Master's degree. 3

  • "Almost three-fourths of all full-time college students work while attending school.” 4

  • 56% of JMU undergraduates use resources through a JMU library web page weekly or daily. 5


Personas
Library staff members and students collaborated on creating fictitious users, or personas, to represent target users.  These personas helped the redesign team keep the real users in mind.
 

Photo of a typical user Photo of a typical user

Photo of a typical user Photo of a typical user


Usability Testing
Usability testing, where the library watched actual users attempt tasks on mockups of the new website, helped to confirm design choices and identify problem areas.

Usability Testing in JMU Libraries


Sources cited:
1Institutional Research. (2004) Statistical Summary 2003-04. Retrieved August 3, 2005 from http://www.jmu.edu/instresrch/statsum/2003_04/2003-04toc.shtml.

2 Student Affairs & University Planning. (2004, January) Continuing student survey. Student Development News. 26(1). Retrieved August 3, 2005 from http://www.jmu.edu/ie/Surveys/ContStuSurvey2003.pdf.

3 Student Affairs & University Planning. (2004, January) Continuing student survey. Student Development News. 26(1). Retrieved August 3, 2005 from http://www.jmu.edu/ie/Surveys/ContStuSurvey2003.pdf.

4 Mutari, E. (2003, Jan-Feb) Special section on education: Class conflict. Dollars and Sense 245, 18-21. Retrieved August 3, 2005 from FactSearch.

5 LibQUAL+ 2004 Survey Results


Read more about the Redesign