The Online Experience Group has been working hard on a proposed new design for subject guides. Subject guides are envisioned as tools to help users navigate a broad or specific subject area and to identify key SULAIR specialists.
We carefully considered how the website redesign would impact the many and varied subject guides. Based on user studies and subject specialist interviews, the proposed subject guide model is intended to provide maximum flexibility for providing content within a visually consistent, branded framework; and to support maximum ease in content creation, organization, and maintenance. The guide model strives for a simple, intuitive design, with support for media, automatic feeds, and custom design within a standard framework.
Six personas (user categories) were developed, each with specific needs. The new design intends to meet the needs of each of these user types:
1. The student in class: She needs to quickly find credible resources for an assignment, get an overview of a topic, become acquainted with key resources on the topic, familiarize herself with useful terminology, and access the desired item.
2. The novice: Similar to the student in class, the novice needs to get an overview of a topic, familiarize himself with both terminology and seminal works, learn how to find resources independently, learn about relevant student or faculty research projects and related campus resources, and identify the appropriate specialist for help.
3. The advanced learner: She needs to stay current on a topic by monitoring new library acquisitions lists and current journal tables of contents, learn about specialized or unique resources, and be able to identify the subject specialist for more help.
4. The Instructor: He needs to assist students in completing assignments and research projects, and to understand the usefulness of the guide and be able to contribute to its continued value.
5. The Content Creator: She needs to understand the usefulness of the guide, and assist her audience in completing their research or course-related tasks.
6. The World: They need to understand the scope of Stanford’s resources on a specific topic.
The initial response from a sampling of content creators has been very positive; your feedback is continually incorporated in communications with the designers, and is much appreciated! The new subject guide model will be posted very soon for your consideration. Stay tuned!