IRLS 675 Unit 11: Repository Homesites

This week we were asked to discuss our impressions of the home websites such as drupal.org of the repositories we have looked at so far.

I decided to use some principles for good navigation and other  user- friendly principles from the field of information architecture and see if the repository websites are lacking. See the section on Getting the Website Architecture Right from  http://conversionxl.com/website-information-architecture-optimal-user-experience/

I looked at these principles in particular;
1.In good navigation design, links look clickable.
2. Is there consistent, reliable global navigation?
3. Each page must do two things:

      1. Help the user accomplish one specific task (including finding information about what they need help with in documentation.)
      2. Make the next step easy to access.
        Offer the right help at the right moment in the most unobtrusive way possible.

4. Focus on what users of your website need.

Drupal
Drupal.org  has just upgraded to Drupal 7 which may impact the design of the webiste. The horizontal links on the Drupal .org homesite change when the user rolls over the navigation links such as Documentation, and Get Started. The Drupal homepage can be accessed from any of the subwebsites such as Documentation. In other words, the navigation is consistent and global. The Documentation site has many categories such as Installation Guide and the user can find exactly what is needed. The Support site has an impressive number of categories including forums and training. The search box refines the search to different categories in the website such as Modules. A search for Bookmarks module brought up a number of module which can be further refined by the version of Drupal. The Module search function has been very helpful to me as a user.

Eprints
The main Eprints website at http://www.eprints.org has a number of categories displayed that focus on the user’s needs such as Documentation and Training Materials. The documentation website is a wiki and has a different navigation plan than the main website. However, material on installation and How-to-Guides are easy to find.  A number of tasks are described in the How-to section but there is a more link.  “More” links may confuse the user at times. The site uses a Google search form but the search is not refined as on the Drupal website.

DSpace
The DSpace website navigation menu at http://www.dspace.org/ has both horizontal and vertical navigation. Navigation is consistent throughout the website with the horizontal and vertical system being repeated on every page. DSpace also provides a sitemap at http://www.dspace.org/Sitemap which may be useful for some users. Search again is not refined as in Drupal. DSpace has some FAQ’s like the EndUser FAQ guide at https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/DSPACE/EndUserFaq The navigation at the FAQ site is not consistent with the main navigation and uses a Duraspace logo which could be confusing for new users.

Omeka
Omeka has  a nice global navigation menu with categories such as Showcase and Documentation. The Documentation section ahs many different categories including Working with Omeka Admin and a Getting Started section. Each section is further subdivided. A vertical menu on the left documentation side provides easy access to screencasts. Drupal also has screencasts but not as organized as Omeka. See https://drupal.org/videocasts perhaps as users can often upload their own Drupal videocasts as is not the case at Omeka. It appears that Omeka is very much focused on the user as it states in part of the Final Grant Report for the IMLS Grant at
http://omeka.org/about/imls-final-grant-report/future-plans/

“We are especially pleased to report that the Library of Congress has recently awarded CHNM and its partners at University of Virginia’s Scholars’ Lab nearly $700,000 over two years to fund regular point releases, improved documentation, development community support, user studies, key enhancements to the plugin API, and a set of geo-temporal visualization tools.”

Harvester and JHove
The OpenHarvester site at http://pkp.sfu.ca/?q=harvester only has an Administrator’s guide which can be downloaded as a .pdf and well as a README guide which includes installation instructions. No screencasts are provided and no screenshots of the software are provided. The Admin guide is useful but could some more of theis documentation be put on the website. The Wiki page under the Support  navigation menu at the left of the website leads to User Documentation which is difficult to find. When Harvester Community Documentation page is clicked it leads to a blank page at http://pkp.sfu.ca/wiki/index.php?title=Harvester_Community_Documentation

The JHove page at http://jhove.sourceforge.net/index.html is similar to the OpenHarvester website in that is  not as well developed as the other websites that I looked at. However, it does have good global and consistent navigation. The documentation section is not broken down into categories that are friendly to a novice user or non-programmer. See http://jhove.sourceforge.net/documentation.html No screenshots are available and not screencasts. It would also be difficult to find specific information on the website as there is no search function.

Either Drupal or Omeka would be good choices for repositories based on the state of their websites Ease of use in a website is important for a number of reasons. Finding information fast is essential in a fast-paced working assignment. However, I do not believe that the ease of use of a website and the organization of the documentation should be an essential factor for my final selection criteria for choosing a repository. Technical factors and other factors are very important and rate higher in many cases.

Conclusion
Drupal is a typical open-source website but still has good organizational aspects including a global navigation. However, as users can contribute to the website some aspects of the website could be confusing and not as well organized. Drupal has made a good effort to provide documentation that is helpful to users and has a good search function. Omeka is also friendly to users, well-organized and has a good navigation system. Both Eprints and DSpace are less friendly and use wikis. It my be more difficult to find what the user is looking for on these websites although both have good navigation. OpenHarvester and JHove do not have well developed websites and are lacking in user friendly  documentation on their websites. OpenHarvester has a search function but JHove does not and JHove seems to be geared to programmers and not general users.

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