Date:April 16, 2007

Behind the Book

Usability and strategy analysis, corrections to site architecture and design.

Behind the Book is a non-profit youth literacy program that brings book authors, poets and illustrators into public schools. When I first approached the website, the front end design was poorly implemented. My first task  was to recode the page template so that the graphic elements aligned.

The client was also unhappy with the navigation, which seemed to highlight holes in the program instead of its strengths. The main navigation was based on the location of school visits and author name. On researching users and program participants, we found that author name recognition was important, but that teachers were less likely to find appropriate authors if they searched by location only. Some boroughs only had high school level participants and others only had authors who wrote for younger readers. Also, at the time, there were no visits recorded in the borough of Staten Island, leading users to believe that Behind the Book did not work with Staten Island schools.

I restructured the information architecture around grade level rather than location and tested the new design with prospective users and advisory board members. Allowing navigation by grade level made it much easier for teachers at prospective schools to locate appropriate authors. This satisfied a major goal to bring more schools into the program.