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Step Away from the Project

My big on-going project for this academic year has been the redesign of our library’s website. We’re a small operation, so this task is one that I’ve undertaken with our college’s web designer. I have had lots of great brainstorming sessions and input from my colleagues, but it’s up to me to bring this new website into existence. It’s been a learning experience to say the least. What I thought would take a few months ended up dragging on for the better part of a year thanks to maternity leave and all of the other responsibilities that made up my day-to-day work load. I realize now that I was completely unrealistic in my initial time assessment.

It’s no newsflash: Building websites takes time. They require input from many different people and are a constantly evolving animal. The design that made sense yesterday suddenly doesn’t work with the content you want to add to the site today. The joke of this is that at the University of Houston Libraries I took part in the library’s website redesign process. I just assumed that at a smaller library with a smaller website the whole process would be much faster. Thankfully, I’m nearing the completion of this redesign and although I know websites are in a constant beta state, it is nice to know that I’ll at least have something to roll out this summer and fall.

The problem: I’ve been working on this website for so long that I’m kind of starting to hate it. At the ALA Annual Conference this weekend I went to a presentation by a group of librarians at Towson University. They created a really cute promo video for their library, which I thought was great. They however, freely admitted that whenever they watched the video all they could see were the mistakes in it. That’s where I am with this website. All I can see are the decisions I made and how changing them again and again and again would make things better. What if I had gone with this design or that style or that organizational scheme? I realize that things can always be changed, but I sometimes get to a point where all I want to do is throw up my hands and start from scratch!

When I take a step back from my immediate feelings of frustration, I know I’m just suffering from project fatigue. I just haven’t quite found the right way to deal with it. Suggestions are, as always, welcome.

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