LSA Technology Services launched their new, customer focused website on August 21, 2019. Developed to improve search and access to all our services while supporting LSA Technology Services’ strategic goal of “Providing Faculty and Staff with Easier Access to Services,” the website houses support information for the newly formed units: Academic Technology Services, Operational Effectiveness, Research Computing and Infrastructure, Support Services, and Web and Application Development Services.
The project was led by Web and Application Development Services’ Maria Laitan and Jessica Wolking. Over the course of a nine month process, Laitan and Wolking worked with multiple users across LSA and individuals within LSA Technology Services to meet the summer deadline.
The foundation of the redesign was rooted in user experience research, investigating the needs of each facet of the LSA audience to ensure that their requirements were well documented and analyzed. Focus groups included participants from faculty, staff, and researchers. From there, the Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) platform provided flexible design templates that accommodated the website’s new service detail features. The modern website features audience and data-driven navigation and content structures, updated design templates and components, and robust search functionality.
The Project Process
The scope of the project included creating a user-friendly, audience-based website that incorporated content and services from the previous units of Information Technology, Instructional Support Services, Management Information Systems, and Web Services.
Service Detail templates standardize services throughout the organization
Flexible layout capability allows pages to be customized based on content and readability for users
Service Status page provides information about maintenance and outages of LSA services and a live-feed from ITS Service Status page
Services List Component is a complete list of all services offered within the organization
Enhanced Search Functionality allows for quick access to services to all sections of the website
At the beginning of the process, a research plan was created by Laitan and Wolking to briefly state the project mission to align project and leadership goals. The next step in the research phase was a comparative and competitive analysis using peer institutions for inspiration and testing. The institutions included Educause, UC Berkeley, Stanford, Georgia Tech, UCLA, Arizona State, and UC Davis. In addition to academic institution research, Laitan and Wolking researched help desk patterns, user-centered design, and methods for running usability tests.
With the assistance from LSA Technology Services’ unit liaisons, the team identified participants for focus groups that included faculty and staff members across LSA.
Information collected during the research phase helped the team create four iterations of low fidelity sketches illustrating a user-focused navigation. Feedback was recorded during user interviews and later analyzed in card sorts and group discussions.
The information from these focus group interviews and team discussions directly drove the design for the AEM templates. In addition to the qualitative data, Laitan and Wolking utilized reports from the Single Point of Contact Committee, service tickets, phone data, and website analytics to make informed decisions about navigation, categories, tags, common fields, and content structure for the improved website. The service categories provide the backbone to the website organization and were vetted with business owners.
After analyzing and consolidating the data, high fidelity wireframes were created using OmniGraffle. The prototype progressed to include navigation, categories, and structure evolving into clickable wireframes to facilitate the development of the AEM templates.
By leveraging the success of the Natural History Museum website, which launched earlier this year, the development team made customizations to the existing templates to accommodate LSA Technology Services’ unique service catalog needs. The Service Detail template was extremely important to standardizing services across the department. Another development solution was the “All Services” component. This comprehensive list is tag-based and can be easily maintained by web editors creating new Service Detail Pages.
Throughout this whole process the end goal was clear: incorporating user needs and requirements was the driving force behind the layout and structure of the website.
Above: Example of the new service detail page template
With the template and required components complete, the content was manually migrated and converted to comply with the new format for Service Detail pages. The website launch on August 21 was a combined effort between Adobe and units within LSA Technology Services. The four informational sites of ISS, LSA IT, MIS, and Web Services were decommissioned and many pages redirected to the new site. Analytic tools were implemented to track user data which will be used on a continuous basis to improve the website experience for LSA Technology Services audiences.