CIL2009: web design pitfalls to avoid

Website Redesign Pitfalls
10:30 AM – 11:15 AM
Jeff Wisniewski, Web Services Librarian, University of Pittsburgh

Redesign or Redevelop?

Redesign if just asked, old, boring

Redevelop if code is poor, usability poor, hard to update

Redesign is cheap (director won’t know difference)

Redevelop is $$$ more like triplebypass

Get off the major redesign cycle. Disruptive to users

Users dislike redesigns

Redesign w/ evidence based

Usability tests, usage logs, feedback show a need

Pitfall 1: not accounting time for assessment

Redesign where the biggest ROI in terms of content, services

Look where people are going

Google Analytics
Usability studies
Find and document page rank

Plan for time to get consensus:
Need for change
Desired outcomes

Data is good here

Pitfall: death by committee
Make committee SMALL

Data+evidence based practice

Pitfall: being experts
Don’t design to make librarians happy, design for your users

Pitfall: thinking outside box
Rather traditional page based

Pitfall spending too much time designing
Why be original when so many choices already?

spend time on content, services rather than arguing design minutia

Pitfall only looking other Library websites

User expectations formed on other sites, not libs

Pitfall use SMART goals

Increase page rank, improve content update times, improve usability x percent, increase in resource usage

Pitfall: not communicating enough
Consider blog or wiki, tool manage user expectations


Pitfall communicating too much
Redesign by committee
Look to evidence to avoid tedious discussions

Pitfall not providing clear path for users
Define primary functions and these paths are clear

Connecting people / materials get prime real estate

Pitfall reinventing the wheel
Use free stuff

Spent time money on remarkable content, engagement

Librarians are smart provide good content

Remarkable content is rewritten content for the web don’t cut and paste
Improvements in usability in hundreds of percent

Redesign for SEO
Structure HTML well consistently
Simple URL
Alt tags
Descriptive titles

Submit sitemap
Ask Google to remove old from cache

Design with social media optimization

Don’t throw old content

Update robots.txt

Pitfall not planning for maintenance in future

Do it right once

Others who took better notes include:

Bobbi Newman


Julie Strange