The Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois provides mission-critical digital services to 145 of Illinois’ academic libraries. Pixo suggested new structures for CARLI’s site to make hundreds of resources findable and updated their site’s design which was implemented by CARLI’s webmaster with consultation by Pixo’s experienced Drupal team.

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CLIENT Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois

Complex Documentation

When it’s your job to provide mission-critical digital services to 145 of Illinois’ academic libraries, you’re going to generate a lot of documentation to keep those librarians informed and their systems up and running.  And by a lot, we mean a lot. The Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) had more than 700 web pages, PDFs, Excel files, etc., squirreled away in a website that was never designed to handle such complexity.

CARLI asked Pixo to untangle its existing Products & Services section and suggest a new structure to make those hundreds of resources findable. Pixo also created an updated design for the site that was implemented by CARLI’s webmaster with consultation by Pixo’s experienced Drupal team.

Understanding frustrations

One of our first steps was to analyze the search logs on CARLI’s existing site,  helping us better understand the behaviors of existing users and pinpoint some of the key resources they were struggling to find. The search logs reveal which terms were searched for the most and how many, if any, results the search term yielded. We found that highly sought after instructions and documentation could be buried as far as 10 levels down from the homepage.

Walking in the users’ shoes

As we began to strip away the layers of the existing site, we undertook a study to tap into CARLI’s librarian users and discover more about how they instinctually categorized CARLI’s vast resources. Using Optimal Workshop’s online card-sorting study, 30 of CARLI’s existing users were asked to rearrange and re-categorize the key topics identified for the new CARLI site, which influenced decisions about the new organization.

Easy Access

Pixo’s work on the Products & Services section led to a streamlined approach, simplifying the organization and logically grouping related documents. Each CARLI product now has its own Documentation page with a list of categories. Each category is expandable, which immediately reveals direct links to the documentation, putting all resources within easy reach for time-pressed users.

Expanded Menu System

Additionally, an expanded menu just for the Products & Services section brings the Documentation and other key resources within one-click from any page on the site.

Design

CARLI’s new design borrowed themes from the organization’s identity with a fresh look that showcases the organization in a modern, vibrant light. With no photography to rely on, Pixo introduced bold typography, shapes, and colors to convey the organization’s dynamism.

System Transparency

A performance indicator provides information to libraries about system status. With a glance, librarians know if a CARLI system is down for an emergency or planned outage and can easily access information about the situation.

Icons

An icon system makes it easy for users to identify the type of resource they’re accessing.

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