home > project: MCLS website redesign

MCLS website redesign

The current MCLS website (original design from 2005) needed a redesign to provide a better user experience for our users. The navigation of the site has gotten a bit unruly with very long drop down menus, and an abundance of content. Multiple navigation systems make it challenging for users to find what they need quickly. Viewing and purchasing eResources, products, and training classes can be challenging, and overall the website looks and feels outdated.

I was the project manager for a team of five charged with the goal of completely overhauingl the seven year old MCLS website, which was a nine month endevour. I also was responsible for project planning, user experience research, information architecture, working with the consultants who developed our site, content wrangling, and teaching staff how to appropriately write for the web, among many other things.

Old MCLS website
  Figure 1: Three separate navigation systems that have over 400 links total


The current website has several issues that need to be addressed:

  • Inconsistant, confusing and complex navigational structure
  • Copy that is too formal and wordy; overabundance of page content
  • Design that is dated
  • Lack of social media integration and mobile strategy (responsive design)
  • No easily found description of MCLS mission - what does MCLS do? What can I find here?

High-level goals

  • Provide a clean, user-friendly, attractive website
  • Increase attendance and revenue for training classes and conferences
  • Increase revenue for databases and other products sold by MCLS
  • Elevate the image of MCLS in the library world

The MCLS website will be redesigned to include:

  • Navigation that is useful, effective, learnable and user-based
  • Content that is timely, relevant, accurate and concise
  • Visual design that is clean, modern, attractive and consistent
  • Responsive design that addresses the needs of user browsing on mobile devices and tablets
  • A search box that allows users to quickly and easily search to get what they need immediately

User research (initial)

User research is necessary to understand what is already working well on the MCLS site, and what can be improved. In addition, user expectations, technology and design have changed significantly since the website was last updated. Our research includes:

  • Competitive analysis—the MCLS website was compared to four other non-profits that offer many of the same types of products and services that MCLS does.
  • Analytics—we looked at both Google Analytics and Webalyzer to glean information about how our members are using our site.
  • User testing (staff)—since the MCLS staff size is relatively small (19), and each person has a unique job and interacts differently with the MCLS website and the back-end systems that support it, we decided to user test everyone. However, the staff comments are not weightly as much as our member comments.
  • User testing (MCLS members)—for our first round of user testing, we interviewed seven members, most in their own job setting, and a few here at MCLS.
  • MCLS web survey—I created a basic web survey, and sent it out via our MCLS Newsletter, common librarian listservs, and placed a link to our survey on the MCLS homepage. We recived 157 responses in about three weeks.

Information architecture

The below wireframe, that I made in Axure, shows the first take on the uppernavigation and the content of the body of the homepage. I worked with representatives from each department to dicuss the verbage for the labels. We went on to user test our main navigation, which did slightly change for the final version.

MCLS homepage wireframe in Axure
  Figure 2: First more polished take at the MCLS website that was used for more user testing.


New MCLS website
  Figure 3: The completely redesigned MCLS website