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
- 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
- Focus groups were asked about resources and sample designs.
The idea of communities of users with special information needs
- An online survey offered a preview of the top-level screens
and overall design, and found overwhelming acceptance by JEFFLINE
- 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
- 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
- Emphasis on student support, with space and services to allow
students' official publishing.