The Naval Postgraduate School’s (NPS) Dudley Knox Library (DKL) launched its completely redesigned website, Dec. 28, with site administrators confident the new site will better enable its NPS student and faculty users to be more successful learners, researchers and educators.
“Our basic strategy is to curate a web presence to help our primary users, which are students and faculty,” said DKL Web Services Librarian and co-chair of the library’s web working group, Stacy DeMatteo. “We want all users to quickly and easily find what they need.”
The process for realigning the DKL website began more than 18 months ago with dedicated research into modern web design, content authoring and strategy, detailed analytics and user input.
Through a series of interviews with students and faculty, several changes were made to the structure of the DKL site and its homepage. Some additions include clearly defined search engines, links to specific NPS courses, and a “tool belt” for performing some of the more common tasks, such as printing from a laptop, finding articles or eBooks, and searching the latest NPS theses.
“We did a top task survey to discover what [users] come to the library’s website to do,” said DeMatteo. “Our library liaisons have also worked with the professors to tailor the website to the students’ needs.”
The result is a site that has been condensed from more than 800 pages on the previous site to less than 100 currently, as well as a web presence that capitalizes on the capabilities of NPS’ new content management system (CMS).
“Through the whole process we were able to move to about 89 pages on a more modern CMS, Liferay,” said Library Systems Manager Kathy Norton, DeMatteo’s co-chair on the web working group. “This also reduces the overall maintenance on the content within these pages.”
Liferay is a CMS that optimizes responsive web design, meaning the site and its content automatically adjust to fit the user’s screen, critical for the growing use of mobile devices for web applications. The website has also been designed to accommodate the many resources DKL makes available to students from a sensible, user-centric perspective.
“One of the challenges we have is that we are a portal,” said DeMatteo. “We have ten different library applications, all on different servers, that all have a slightly different look and feel. We are working on integrating these to appear more seamless.”
DKL and its web working group are already meeting regularly to discuss continuous improvements to the new site, but administrators say the most critical tool in driving that improvement is direct feedback from students and faculty.
“We are going to use Google analytics to look at web statistics,” said Norton. “But we are more excited to hear from the people [using our site] instead of making assumptions. We are first and foremost designing this site for the audience.”
To check out the new Dudley Knox Library site and provide your feedback, visit http://library.nps.edu/.