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Behind the Toronto Public Library’s New Faceted Search

On 19, Feb 2010 | 5 Comments | In Toronto, User Experience | By Ryan Feeley

My 2009 work-highlight was the opportunity to work with the great people at the Toronto Public Library on their new faceted search interface. We tested the interface with over a dozen users, and then made recommendations based on the findings. Almost all of my work has surfaced into the current public beta which is shaping up to be one of the better library websites in North America! Seriously, look around.

As a search-obsessed UX designer, the best part of the project was not the size of the collection, but the richness of their metadata. Most items are described with media type, language, age level, owning branch, subject, author, and more.

TPL Web Team Manager Dara Renton and I recently gave a presentation at UX Show & Tell so we thought we’d post the presentation for people to see the thinking that went behind the current design. We couldn’t get permission from our volunteers to post their Silverback sessions online, but their participation proved invaluable in helping us prioritize the interface.

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  1. Great job Ryan. Thanks for sharing all the insights into your work.

  2. Geoff

    This is great stuff, and well presented. Most site developers don’t know how to do this kind of work… and they should!

  3. Excellent presentation Ryan, very inspiring and motivating, is not only saying that “Just do it”, best regards

  4. Hi Ryan – I found this blog post from another site while researching opac interface design (I’m trying to do a similar thing at my school’s library), but, alas, the presentation is no longer up at slideshare. Any chance you still have it available somewhere? Many thanks!

  5. Fixed Robin! Thanks for making me aware of the issue!

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