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Next PageJEFFLINE Milestones Tour

Entering the 21st Century

JEFFLINE moved to pulldown menus and tab navigation in 2001.

As the Web became popular, other campus groups created sites for a variety of purposes ranging from promotion aimed at prospective students to internal communications. The Web has become the new way of doing business, and publishing to it is both ubiquitous and expected on any campus.

Some services that had been started by AISR were moved to other departments as new service groups were formed on campus. Student email administration, for example, moved to the Office of Information Technologies (now Jeff-IT). Administrators realized the need to coordinate the widely-dispersed publishing on campus, and established Jeff-IT's Application and Web Services (AWS) Department. AISR's campus-wide information service (CWIS), for example, moved to new locations, as Jeff-IT introduced a new campus intranet and portal in the summer of 2001.

The administrative need to refocus JEFFLINE on academic and clinical information, research services, curriculum support and academic communication was also a perfect opportunity to re-evaluate the aging office metaphor.

Seeking a new JEFFLINE: a year in the making

Knowing our users would find the change radical, AISR took care to involve them in the process of designing the new site.

  • AISR staff knew the office metaphor was getting stale from encounters with user complaints. Friendly characters that used to ease new users into the system came to irritate experienced and serious information seekers.
  • A prototype of a possible new navigation system was released in the fall of 2000, for the University Archives and Special Collections.
  • Statistics on the types of computers accessing JEFFLINE showed that almost all could handle more advanced files, including javascript.
  • Focus groups were asked about resources and sample designs. The idea of communities of users with special information needs was introduced.
  • An online survey offered a preview of the top-level screens and overall design, and found overwhelming acceptance by JEFFLINE users.
  • Usability studies were done with a cross-section of users.
  • Finally, the new interface was introduced slowly during the summer of 2001. Users could choose whether to access JEFFLINE via the old office or the new homepage during the transition period, so no one had to feel stranded by the change.

JEFFLINE's features in 2001:

  • Emphasis on quick and easy routes to information - less hierarchy and more direct access through pulldown menus.
  • Resources grouped by community, tailored to the needs of special populations.
  • Prominent search boxes and renaming of services from characters to meaningful descriptions allow immediate access to resources.
  • New resources and services featured in each service area and community.
  • Emphasis on student support, with space and services to allow students' official publishing.

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