As part of our redesign research efforts, yesterday we watched a an ALA TechSource webinar: 10 Steps to a User-Friendly Website.
I found it to be full of useful, practical information as well as great confirmation that we’re talking about the right things and floating good ideas.
A few takeaways that stood out for me:
Reduce your site.
- Our site should be smaller, should not use the “just in case” model of information. Most of it is noise.
- The one-pager concept. Our site can probably not become one page but it can be dramatically reduced.
Steve Williams and Jon Gibson presented on development of the AHPN web site at the UT Campus Drupal Developers group. Steve discussed using the Zen theme kit to build a template layer with regions and styling of the site. Steve also demonstrated how to set up a dual language site in Drupal, including installation of modules, language detection methods, configuration of site variables, and how to create multilingual content like nodes, menus and blocks. Jon discussed the custom AHPN Search module, the separate layers of storage, and the Solr search index integration. Jon also demonstrated how Solr returns data and how each return is parsed.
With a full room of developers no one in attendance had built a multilingual site before and many showed interest in the process. The room was also impressed with the amount of data being indexed (10 million images and associated metadata) and how quickly the site served each request. Audrey Templeton, who also worked on the custom AHPN Search Module, attended and helped with questions.