Website review proposal

Editor’s notes

These notes are only for the editor of this document. Others should avert their eyes!


In late 2005 the U of M Libraries began exploring a project around stem cell ethics with Jeff Kahn at the center for bioethics. By early 2006 planning had coalesced around a project called EthicShare for which we would seek Mellon funding. The site was established. In late 2008, the EthicShare team began to plan a new iteration of the web site, expected to roll out in 2009. I was asked by project director Kate McCready to consider consulting with the project to review this redesign of the web site.

Initial design review

The EthicShare team expects a first iteration of the new site to be available at the beginning of February 2009. In an effort to prepare the best possible usability testing scripts, they would like an initial design review completed by the end of the first week of February.

If the site can be available no later than February 2, I propose to review the site and produce a brief report of findings by February 6. I will consider the flow, wording, and clarity of the site.

I will attempt to use the site as I think a researcher might. In some cases this will require that others on the EthicShare team also interact with the site so that more dynamic functions, such as discussions, can also be investigated. This review will not be a comprehensive usability review, but rather will be meant to expose areas that should be tested in a usability review. I will also attempt to be more direct in my response than a typical user might be, suggesting alternate approaches and critiquing technical choices.

Costs and Timeline

The consultant costs would be $1,600, to be invoiced after the submission of the design review on 2/6/2009. I suggest that we start this contract on 1 February 2009 and keep it open until 1 April 2009. This allows for some slippage, though it is highly unlikely that the task would slip beyond February.

Eric Celeste

Eric brings over 15 years of library and 25 years of technology experience to his consulting. At MIT Eric shepherded the creation of DSpace, open source digital repository management software developed with HP and now deployed at hundreds of institutions worldwide. At the University of Minnesota Libraries he encouraged the development of the UThink blog service, a wiki-based staff intranet, LibData, and the University Digital Conservancy. He works with non-profit institutions on appropriate uses of technology for informing, communicating, and collaborating with their constituencies.