From RFP to Reality

 A full stack overhaul

This site wasn't bad for a classic Dreamweaver site in the early 2000's that consisted of html files and some light PHP that was updated by hand by a webmaster and an intern. Not bad, but also not sustainable. Due to increasing user demands for a better site and recent upgrades to the backend library catalog, the website had to transform from a blunt keyword resource search tool to an entity where personality and functionality could compliment each other.

We conducted a survey of universities to help demonstrate to library leadership and to the open-source community how many resources were required to run a free system before taking the plunge into the Drupal ecosystem. The infographic I designed was presented at the poster session at the American Library Association’s annual conference in New Orleans.


  • Take time to do careful reviews of vendors and partners
  • Get buy-in from all stakeholders then identify and assess risks early
  • Make a list of assumptions and requirements before launching the project
  • Create personas and loop through experiences to find friction in the smallest tasks
  • Don’t get attached to pretty designs that don’t work
  • Enjoy the group you work with and celebrate successes
  • Work doesn’t end after the launch, keep up with user testing and update

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Project Description

A team of 4 volunteers, we were passionate about crafting a useful and lovely virtual sense of place for Snell Library at Northeastern University. We created detailed RFPs and interviewed vendors. Then, with iFactory, we helped organize focus groups and user testing, and conducted a thorough IA process. We worked closely with the developer to organize and display content in the service of both front and back-end users.

Project Details

Date: January 2009-January 2010
Client: Snell Library-Northeastern University