Library website redesign: The journey so far

Over the last couple of years, the ITS team has been building and refining the user-centered design process. We know how important it is for users’ voices to be heard, and for our products and services to reflect what they want to see.

Our library website redesign project has adopted a user-centered design approach. This methodology puts all users at the heart of the design process by making them active participants in the project from beginning to end. It involves a continual cycle of feedback and input over various stages of the project. The team focuses on incorporating users’ interaction, content, and design preferences while helping users complete they tasks they want and should be able to achieve on the website.

We decided to adopt a user-centered design approach for several reasons:

  • By consulting users from the beginning of the design process, the team can apply their new knowledge of users’ needs, frustrations, and desires sooner rather than later.
  • If we want users to choose our products, it’s important to adapt them to users’ motivations and behaviours.
  • The user perspective often differs from the perspective of the designers, and may even surprise the project team.
  • By building a relationship with our users, we build ongoing community support for our projects.

So far, we have reached out to users in many ways, including regular news updates, whiteboards in the Robarts lobby, information sessions, online feedback tools, and Twitter.


(User feedback on the whiteboard in the Robarts lobby.)


(The "guide on the side" online tutorial.)


(A tweet calling for user feedback.)


In addition, our user research process has included focus groups, observation, interviews, analytics, reviews of existing feedback of similar services, personas, user journeys, card sorting, and research into trends and best practices in user experience design. Google Analytics, LibQual, surveys from similar library projects, Ask a Librarian chat data, and Blackboard feedback have also been important sources of information on user needs and desires. We have aimed for a tri-campus perspective in our user research efforts.


(ITS team members organizing user feedback.)