Macquarie University is an innovative university located on a single campus in Sydney, Australia. Macquarie was founded in 1964 as a second-generation Australian university with a focus on interdisciplinary research and teaching in the sciences, social sciences and humanities.
In line with Macquarie’s reputation as one of Australia’s most innovative institutions, the Macquarie University Library (MUL) plays a key role in providing information resources to the University community.
Delivery of electronic services has been a growing focus of all libraries over the last ten to fifteen years, and recently there has been a sharp increase in the priority given to online services. The core element in this strategy for MUL is its website, which allows authorised users to access most of the material in the Library’s collections.
The website consists not only of a public brochureware site, but also the ‘business end’ information portal; a powerful set of tools that allow users to search out and retrieve books, academic journals and other material.
However, there was a general recognition throughout MUL that the website needed improvement, both in its appearance and usability, but also in its usefulness for the intended audience.
MUL also recognised that it needed to understand its audience better, so it could deliver appropriate targeted services both online and in person.
MUL sought the assistance of Step Two Designs to begin the process of evaluating and redesigning the website. This case study aims to give an overview of the process undertaken and the key outcomes.
Library staff had seen the website through several previous redesigns, so they had a good understanding of what is involved in designing and maintaining a website, but they needed some assistance in specific areas.
In particular, we helped with user research, information architecture and general web design and usability expertise.
The goal was to review the website in preparation for a major redesign. This required substantial user research, and it was decided to undertake this more broadly, because gaining a clear picture of MUL clients and their needs would also be useful for the website.
It was also necessary to gain an understanding of the organisation itself, how it functioned and how this affects the delivery of services to Library clients.
[Case study written by Patrick Kennedy, read the full article]