Information Architecture Plans for the Library Website

Since we announced our website redesign project in January, we have been working hard to plan the new site. We’re doing everything we can to ensure that will clearly reflect our many services and resources, will be easy to understand, and will connect you quickly to the information you’re looking for.

Here’s our “information architecture” blueprint for the new site. It’s a birds-eye conceptual view; it certainly doesn’t represent all of our pages and is still under review, but it shows how we’ve chosen to organize and label the main parts of the site.


Here are the main improvements over the current architecture.

  • Navigation. We’ll have a clear main menu (“global navigation”) that will persist at the top of our pages throughout the site. Our six main areas will be:
    • Search & Find, Using the Library, Research Support, Course Support, Libraries, and About Us
  • Organization. Our most important pages will be organized under one of the six main menu items, accessible via a “megadropdown” area that will appear when you mouse-over the main menu.
  • Labels. We’re getting rid of as much library jargon as we can in the site, and will instead use natural language to make things clear.
  • Search. We’re consolidating as much as we can to make it less confusing which search box you should use to look for different kinds of information.

Data-Driven Decisions

Map of clicks on library homepage, 2011-12. Click to Enlarge.

Treemap visualization of the top 100 search terms used in website search box, 2011-12. Click to Enlarge

Our decisions about the architecture are grounded in rigorous research efforts and we continue to assess and refine the plans at every stage of the project. To date, our plans have been developed and modified based on:

• Project vision & values statements
• Usage stats for our current website
• FAQs at our service points
• Usability testing
• Reverse cardsort testing
• Search term analysis for our current website
• Analysis of comparable websites
• Literature review
• Content inventory activities
• Feedback forms
• Stakeholder discussions (especially with faculty and student groups).

What’s Next?

Over the next month, we’ll be developing and sharing visual “wireframe” mockups that will show the actual layout for the site based on our information architecture. While you won’t see colors, fonts, and photos yet, you will see some low-fidelity representations of how the pages will look. We’ll definitely be seeking your feedback on those mockups they become available.

Staying Involved

We would love to hear your feedback! Please leave your comments for us below or email them privately to me at You’ll be able to follow the project’s progress using this link.