Google vs. the Homepage

Google, Google, Google, Google. Google here, Google there, Google everywhere. Okay, maybe not everywhere. But Google holds an undeniable presence in the contemporary information landscape. With that presence comes attention, which in turn has given rise to Search Engine Optimization. Over the last couple of years, our work at the Montana State University Library has concentrated on SEO, with a keen view towards the guidelines set by Google. Now that we’re many months into our SEO initiative, I wanted to take a look back from a UX perspective and compare our Google traffic against another prime focus of attention, our library homepage.

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Web Forms and the User Experience

Web forms. Ahhh, sweet lovable web forms. So many websites have forms, and there are so many ways to make forms. For a long time, the forms on our own MSU Library website were good—but not great. So recently we went through an extended overhaul of our forms. In this post I’ll highlight one of our web forms, and I’ll walk through some of the challenges we faced in designing a user-centered form.

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Her: Machine-speed vs. Human-speed

Okay. It’s been nearly a year since the release of Her, the Spike Jonze film that launched a thousand reviews about society, technology, dystopia, gender, sexism, and race. Her has proven to be a lightning rod of sorts, attracting a range of commentary on the film and its central ideas. Her is far from perfect (or even good), but after reading a recent book exploring the effects of machine technology on the human experience, I was drawn back to similar views of machine technology present in Her.

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New Library Website Header

A few months ago I wrote a post about streamlining multi-page content into a single page. This design decision encourages the user to scroll through longer single pages rather than click through multiple pages. As our pages have become longer as a result, more content started to move farther away from the header, which contains our branding, global navigation menu, and the “Ask A Librarian” link. Our header contains this important information both for us and for the user, so we set out to design a new header to fit our longer pages.

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Information Architecture Revision – Content Streamlining

Over the last several months we’ve been developing a new Information Architecture map for our library webpages. Our goals for this project involve an overall simplification of structure and navigation, which calls for a reduction in pages and links throughout the site. Today we initiated the first of these organizational changes to our Mission/Vision pages. Previously this content included 4 subpages with a primary landing page.

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