CIL2017 – Website Redesign: Techniques & Tools

A great session I attended today was a panel about website redesign.  Each of the three panelists discussed different topics and their experiences about redesigning their websites.  So in a way, this was like three presentations all in one.

Dana Haugh, Stony Brook University
Dana discussed some of the things she looked at when they upgraded their website from an older, basic site to something more modern.  She discussed three main tips for effective web design.

  • Brand, this is your identity and logo.  Make sure to be consistent with fonts, colors, and taglines.
  • Focus, identify the focus of your site, for libraries this is normally to make resources available.  Use as few words as possible, be efficient.
  • Organization, this is how you organize your website.  A good point Dana made was you don’t have to put everything in the menu bar.

Dana had a lot of good insights, but in her presentation you can see the before / after of her website redesign.  A copy of Dana’s presentation can be found at the following URL,

Roy Degler
Roy discussed the theory behind website design, such as being agile with design.  He talked about making small changes instead of making dramatic changes.  Roy told the story of how eBay had made a huge change to their website and users were very distraught about it, so they rolled it back.  Then over the next few months they slowly changed the colors, fonts, etc until the site was now looking like the updated site they had implemented before.  The difference being that users did not notice.  Also making small changes allows you to troubleshoot any problems much easier and faster than making one huge, dramatic change.

A copy of Roy’s presentation can be found at the following URL,

Emily Mitchell, SUNY Oswego
Emily’s presentation covered probably one of the most important topics in dealing with a website design, the people.  She talked about picking your fights when it comes to dealing with other staff.  People, by nature, are resistant to change.  She also talked about using actual data to backup your claims, not just because you think something is ugly.  Emily covered a lot of bases, but the important thing that she touched on is working with other people to get your site updated.  And how to talk to them without offending people and getting them on your side.

A copy of Emily’s presentation can be found at the following URL,

While all of them were from academic libraries, their experiences and even some of their requirements are very different from what we use in the public libraries.  But overall this was a great session with a lot of insight in some of the struggles they have had.