This story appears in Penn State News. For internally-focused news with additional information about the migration, see Binky Lush’s post “Upcoming Libraries website changes”
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Visitors to Penn State University Libraries’ website may start to notice a few changes by the end of 2015. The Libraries will receive a new homepage in advance of the spring 2016 semester, marking the halfway point and the first public phase of a two-year, iterative process to migrate its web content to a new responsive design and Drupal content management platform.
“The Libraries’ Web Implementation and Management Team and Libraries Technology department have been working since January 2015 to identify, plan and implement migration of its content to a new user-centered site that will integrate many systems into a faster, easier site for information retrieval,” Barbara I. Dewey, dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications, said.
Curating more than 10,000 pages of online content serving Libraries patrons, 36 subject and campus libraries and more than two dozen administrative departments is no small task. The Libraries website is moving to a more streamlined, responsive and open-source Drupal interface, supporting the goal of providing a better experience for Libraries online visitors.
“We are overhauling the Libraries’ online content, which includes many external databases and information portals, during this transition with the goal of simplification and greatly improving the online user experience,” Karen Estlund, University Libraries associate dean for Technology and Digital Strategies, explained.
The web team’s charge has included developing a plan for better website functionality, prioritizing phases of migration and developing a strategic vision for the Libraries’ web presence. Improved information and resource access and discoverability is the central focus of the website redesign.
The first round of changes to the Libraries website encompasses the Libraries homepage and top-level landing pages. In addition to a new look and feel designed to align with Penn State’s primary web presence, this first iteration will refine the delivery of news and events content. An existing small slideshow interface will be replaced with a full-width background image that will highlight individual Libraries news, events, resources and services. This approach will improve the website’s universal usability, including accessibility. Other news and events content will be moved to a separate page linked from the homepage via the main image. The search box itself will receive visual improvements, but its functionality will not change.
Future Libraries website changes will include incremental improvements of all aspects of the site, including content, navigation and user interface design. The projected completion date is Sept. 30, 2016.