We’d like to share some of our ideas for the future portal page to Duke Digital Collections. We have included highlights from user feedback that draw attention to important navigation elements, as well as examples of websites that have informed these designs. Please let us know what you think!
You can review our five initial prototypes (A through E) here.
Emphasis has been placed on ways to ease navigation by providing clear, easy ways to browse and prominently displaying visual content that highlights an assortment of interesting materials from our collections.
We’ve uncovered several important requirements for the new portal page through the variety of research methods we employed:
1. Many search queries are for formats, decades, and collection names. It is essential we provide a means to filter items accordingly.
2. Based on web analytics collected in 2008, people are nearly three times more likely to visit individual collection homepages than to conduct a cross-collection search. These numbers show how important it is to put our collection list front and center so it can be easily identified and browsed.
Usability Tests (Spring 2008)
1. Undergraduates liked the carousel of images because they could see actual items from the collections.
2. The overall design and appearance of the current page was described as “clean”, “simple”, “nice” and “easy to understand”. These are fundamentals that should take precedent when reformulating the portal page.
Feedback Forms and Other User Feedback
1. Discovery could be improved if image collections are listed by both first and last name in the Browse A-Z list, as many people look for the photographer by surname, e.g. consider putting the Sidney D. Gamble photograph collection in both the Ss and the Gs.
2. Flatten the navigation and reduce the necessary clicks to get to collections and items.
Interviews with Our Collection Sponsors
Most highly desired improvements:
1. The current label of “featured collection” is confusing and should be clarified or eliminated.
2. Remove anchor links, reduce scrolling, and give collections more prominence.
3. Add a way to get items by format, as that is a common use case.
Ideas from the Implementation Team
1. Create more visualization discovery tools like maps, timelines, and term clouds.
2. Increase the dynamic content to liven up the page and keep it from feeling stale.
3. Fashion interface elements that cycle through content, hide/show elements, and load new content without loading a new page.
4. The portal page should provide more previews of what’s in the collections to give users a better visual taste of what’s interesting.
5. Feature timely, relevant posts from our blog(s) and better integrate what we and others are saying about our collections using social media tools.
Below are a few example websites that demonstrate thoughtful and innovative solutions to many of our requirements (see the whole set here):
&amp;lt;a href=”https://dukedigitalcollections.notableapp.com/website-feedback/27521/Smithsonian-Collections-Search-Center” mce_href=”https://dukedigitalcollections.notableapp.com/website-feedback/27521/Smithsonian-Collections-Search-Center”&amp;gt;View this feedback (Smithsonian Collections Search Center) on Notable&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt; &amp;lt;a href=”https://dukedigitalcollections.notableapp.com/website-feedback/28424/BYU-Digital-Collections” mce_href=”https://dukedigitalcollections.notableapp.com/website-feedback/28424/BYU-Digital-Collections”&amp;gt;View this feedback (BYU Digital Collections) on Notable&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;
&amp;lt;a href=”https://dukedigitalcollections.notableapp.com/website-feedback/28501/ECU-Digital-Collections” mce_href=”https://dukedigitalcollections.notableapp.com/website-feedback/28501/ECU-Digital-Collections”&amp;gt;View this feedback (ECU Digital Collections) on Notable&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;