Receiving the Mission
In 2022 my scrum team was assigned to redesign the website for the PTC Library, as requested by Mary, the head of the library department.
We made arrangements to meet with her to learn what she wanted from the new library website and what impression she wanted it to give to users.
Defining the Issues
During our meeting with Mary, she spoke extensively about how outdated the current website was, and bemoaned how difficult it was for students to navigate through the current set of menus.
She said she wanted something more modern and exciting, that would catch a student's attention, as well as give a welcoming impression to them. We created a list of desired features to focus on creating and implementing, such as a modern design, a new logo, and a mascot character to represent the PTC library. After the meeting, we interviewed potential users of the new site and analyzed the websites of other school libraries. Having studied the users and defined the problems at hand, we set out to create the new website.
Beginning the Work
Our work started strong. We worked on our respective aspects of the website and there was a healthy amount of communication and team interplay as we worked. I created wireframes, which are illustrations of the website layout, and essential to designing the look and user experience of a webpage. Everyone made good progress at their jobs and the site was coming together very nicely.
Near the end of our first sprint (a three-week work period), I volunteered for the role of Scrum Master, and would act as host for the upcoming meeting with Mary. I would handle the introduction and the environment of the meeting room, while also leading a shared presentation of the new site.
The meeting went well and Mary, now able to see the sample web pages, was better able to describe what needed done. One problem she listed was that she felt the writing of the website's body copy was too stiff and informal. She wanted a student to feel welcomed by the website, and greeted like an old friend. She didn't think what we had written at that point lived up to that expectation.
After the meeting, we made a list of all the changes and improvements we needed to make, and I volunteered to rewrite the body copy for the site. This is an unusual task as usually a client would decide on content and body copy, but Mary had entrusted us with the role of its creation. I sat at my laptop, staring at the blank page, the blinking cursor staring back at me, and I encountered that great beast which any creative must be challenged by... Writer's block!
I felt paralyzed. I couldn't think of what to write, or how to make the existing body copy more friendly. I felt stuck. Then I started to think: how would I greet a friend when I really want them to feel at ease? How would the average user want to be greeted in that scenario? So I started writing a character who was friendly, earnest, and a bit of a goofball. I channeled some of my own personality into him and came up with a distinctive voice that would make a user feel welcome.
Concluding the Work
We continued working on the site, further refining the design, writing, UI, and overall appeal of the website. After each three-week sprint, we would present the client with finished, functional work so she could try it out, then when she would request modifications, we would prioritize them and begin another sprint.
Eventually the new PTC website satisfied the client and was ready for use by students. Mary loves the new site and has been complimentary and grateful to us for its creation. She even pointed out that she loved the writing which I had done. I am proud to have been able to contribute to PTC in some manner, and in a way that will be helpful to and hopefully remembered by future students.