CITS provides students at the University of Maryland Baltimore with technology resources.

Client
Center for Information Technology Services

Specific Roles
Content Inventory, User Research, Usability Testing, Wireframing, User Interface Design

Team
Jacquelyn I, Jessica D, Justin W

Tools
Optimal Sort
Adobe XD
Draw.io

The Center for Information Technology Services (CITS), exists to provide the University of Maryland with access to technological services that advance research, teaching, learning and optimizes university services.

Objective: To improve the information architecture and content layout of CITS. Our findings were presented to our professor who is also a representative of CITS.

Success Metrics: Customer Satisfaction - we asked 5 participants of our study how satisfied they were with our redesign proposal. All of them gave it a 5/5.

— PROBLEM

It is difficult for people to find the services they need

Due to the current information architecture as well as content layout, it is difficult for individuals to find the resources that pertain to them on the website. This means that core audiences may be less inclined to search for the resources they need via the website - thus decreasing website traffic.

Improving the information architecture and content layout on key pages would make the website easier to navigate for users and increase traffic to CITS.

Content Inventory

Through our inventory of the website, we determined that in terms of information architecture, it is very difficult for users to find particular services or resources that are of high importance due to the labeling and nesting of menu items. There are also critical services missing from the menu such as Software & Licensing which allows people to download relevant university software.

Heuristic Evaluation

Our evaluation highlighted that the website lacks visual hierarchy and visual cues on several pages. Titles are not large or bold enough, text is packed tightly, and there is no use of color blocks. In terms of flexibility, the website is packed with PDF's and links that do not work. This is common on the Training pages, which teach users how to use specific programs.

Competitive Analysis

We looked at other schools IT services websites such as MICA, Carnegie Mellon and RIT and and determined that there was an opportunity to add "audience cards" to the homepage to make it easier for users to find the resources that pertain to them. We also noted that other websites used language that was more accessible and relatable.

— USER RESEARCH

Who uses the CITS website?


Students

Faculty

Staff
— RECOMMENDATIONS

To improve the information architecture, we proposed the following :

  1. Add Software and Licensing to the navigation menu.
  2. Expand the Training category on the navigation menu by adding Blackboard Collaborate Guide, Kuali Research Step-by-Step, Human Resources eLearning, Finance Department eLearning and Desktop/System Admin eLearning under Microsoft 365.
  3. Change the name of IT Security and Compliance to Security and Compliance and place UMB IT policies under it.
  4. Change Help Desk to Common Help Topics, and remove UMD ID and Who We Support from under it. Who We Support will be placed under About CITS.
  5. Add UMB Account to the navigation menu. Include Creating an Account, ID Lockout and Reset and UMB Account FAQ’s cards under it.
— USER TESTING

Card Sorting to understand individual's mental models

During the testing phase we conducted a 2 card sorts with a total of 26 participants who have used university IT websites in some capacity. The card sort was administered using Optimal Sort, an online card sorting software.

We conducted a hybrid card sort. In a hybrid card sort, participants are provided with categories to sort labels into, while also giving them the opportunity to create their own categories. The categories we provided users with were: Security and Compliance, Training, UMB Account, and About CITS.

— FINDINGS

Finalizing the information architecture

Our card sort indicated that, participants agreed with our initial recommendations, however there were some additional findings. Participants wanted us to place the category Projects and Updates as a label under About CITS. They also wanted us to add the label Duo Factor Authentication under UMB Account.

— CONTENT LAYOUT

Redesigning core pages on the CITS website

The original website lacked a content layout and visual hierarchy that was engaging and easy to follow. As can be seen below, a lot of the elements bleed into one another. Below are snapshots of the original website.

— FINAL PRODUCT

Mockups of our proposal for the CITS website

Homepage

This page was redesigned with audience related categories which provide easy access to resources. As can be seen, the navigation has been updated and  changed to yellow to increase visual hierarchy. The contact info was  moved to the bottom to create more white space on page.


Audience Resources

When a user clicks an audience cards from the Welcome page, they are taken to a page like this, which shows all the services relevant to them.


Software

This page was redesigned with audience related categories which provide easy access to resources. As can be seen, the navigation has been updated and  changed to yellow to increase visual hierarchy. The contact info was  moved to the bottom to create more white space on page.


Training

This is an example of one of the Training pages. We recommend these pages be redesigned for clarity. Instead of fragmented pdfs, and links, the tutorials are presented in a more cohesive manner that is easily accessible.


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