Designing the web for the future, Peter Morville #InternetLibrarian @morville

Information architecture expert, author of the polar bear book and more. Newest: Planning for Everything.

Search is not just technology; it’s a system.

Ann Arbor District Library ( got to work with his home library. Analytics, one-on-one interviews and testing, stakeholder interviews. Strategy, wire frames, iterating. They said the site’s not making people aware of all we offer. He asked about mobile strategy. They talked about their app, rather than a responsive web site. Goal was to have it work on a phone, not hiding things behind a “hamburger menu.”

Library has a collection for the blind. He did a user session with a blind woman. She didn’t use the web site; she talks to the librarians. The web site was so difficult to use with a screen reader.

Some of his recommendations weren’t implemented by launch date. Over time, they have added things.

Baker Library, Harvard Business School ( Talked about not how do you use the web site or the library, how do you do research? Made schematic maps about the research process and the career path and where the library can help.

Library has about 100 databases; it’s hard to figure out which ones to use. Big beautiful reading room, where you feel you have to be quiet: that’s where they do reference interviews. An MBA student was shown how to do things, but forgot and felt dumb. Need to let people do it themselves.

Library of Congress ( Much of his work there was doing wireframes. Shift from more than 100 web sites to three:,, and

Three levels:
* Portal: home pages and second level pages
* Search: Search across data sources and still be fast
* Objects: create a modest level of templates for these types of things. Many people will arrive at the site via a Google search that leads to these pages.

National Cancer Institute: Top result for cancer, but not for specific kinds of cancer.

Cisco intranet: Difficult to use facets (e.g., 135 content types!)

Question re. Required templates. He puts the trade offs on the table, with both stakeholders and users.

Edited to add links.


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