Structuring the Divide across Library and Technology
In 2018, I was asked to assist the Mount Holyoke College Library with their IA problem. Their patrons were struggling to find what they sought, the content writers were challenged by where to put articles, and the website was bloated with recurring content, overgrown navigation, and confusing, inconsistent taxonomies. Librarians are at their core are an ancient precedent of today’s Information Architect. So, they understood the value of the work needed and thus began the search for a UX strategist who was skilled in digital information architecture.
The Mount Holyoke College Library is one of three dozen libraries to merge with technology services in an effort to recognize the importance of technology in discovery and research. The concept is not new; in fact, it is comparable to the digital transformation happening in large corporations like GE and CVS. The primary challenge was that merging library with technology meant users were visiting the website and physical location for very different reasons with vastly divergent needs.
In this presentation, I will share the path I followed to make sense of it all and deliver a content strategy that included a comprehensive clear-to-understand information architecture. I will discuss the ways that I drove consensus and fostered alignment across divergent business divisions using visual assets and data-driven insights as well as hosting focus groups and content writing workshops. Since my approach is firmly rooted in the user centered design process (UCD), this talk will explore where good UX informs IA and the resulting wins that come from structuring your architecture to reflect the needs of the user.
Key takeaways from the session:
– The value in working with user experience design and research techniques to inform and improve upon an information architecture and content strategy.
– Techniques for driving consensus and alignment across seemingly divergent business divisions.
– How content relationships and drive comprehension and increase find-ability (for a user and search engines).
– The importance of on-boarding, redundancy, imagery, and consistency when rolling out a complex information architecture solution.
Dawn Russell is an enterprise Information Architect at CVS Health. Her interdisciplinary style draws from UX, design thinking, and information science. She gravitates towards complex problems that emerge from the intersection of diverse cultures and digital technology.
Her love for information architecture was enriched at Mount Holyoke College where she collaborated daily with librarians to establish a taxonomy for their merged technology and library division. Prior to that, Dawn founded and directed Artisan Web and Print, a boutique design agency specializing in creative, lasting solutions for clients in healthcare, hospitality, and the arts.
In her personal time, she serves on the Diversity and Inclusion Committees at CVS Health and Tech Collective. Her other pleasures include Rockabilly bass, long walks on the beach, and baking sourdough bread.