Voces Oral History Project Website Redesign

Background

Voces is the leading Latino oral history archive in the United States. The archive includes the stories of Latinos and Latinas who served in wars and who continued the fight for civil rights. The project’s goal is to continue to add collections to fill the gaps in the history of Latinos in America.

The website serves as the online access point to learn about the project, discover and search interview subject’s stories, and call on users to participate.

Voces is a project of the University of Texas at Austin’s Moody School of Communication and School of Journalism. I conducted work on this project through my role as an Information Architect in University of Texas at Austin's Libraries IT.

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Challenge

The legacy Voces website was created in the early 2000s with a complex information architecture and a cumbersome platform for site editors to implement changes. For this project, we were tasked with redesigning the legacy Voces website in a responsive format with updated content, information architecture, visual design and easy content editing ability.

This project also required us to migrate and process data of nearly 1000 existing interview subject entries with fields living in separate legacy platforms. We successfully combined and cleaned these datasets using data wrangling techniques and imported the interview subject info into a browse stories feature on the new website.

legacy and redesigned comparison
Legacy homepage screenshot (left), redesigned homepage screenshot (right)

My Role

I served as the technical lead for this project in which I worked with my development team and a Product Owner (PO) who represented the needs of our stakeholders, the Voces staff. As technical lead, I worked with my PO to define the work necessary to approach the project and translated these into stories for our backlog.

I primarily was responsible for implementing the site’s navigation, structure, permissions and, content moderation workflow. I also handled setting up the site’s Google Analytics account and Google custom search engine (CSE). I worked with other developers on my team to export data from legacy platforms, prepare the interview subject data set, and import the data into the new website.

Process

My team used an agile process to complete this project over the course of several months, while also balancing work from other projects.

Some components of this project’s process included gathering requirements from stakeholders, translating requirements into a draft of the site and feature design, iterative validation with our stakeholders, and implementation of the site design and structure in a UT-Drupal themed content management system (CMS).

Once the basic structure of site was established, we focused on building out the browse interview subjects feature, which involved metadata design, data cleanup, and data migration. The final piece of this phase of the project involved creating permissions, setting up a content moderation workflow, and training the Voces staff o n how to edit the site’s content.

Deliverables

Voces Redesigned Website

The new website is mobile-responsive and includes an updated information architecture with refreshed content and visual design.

responsive design with desktop and mobile view

Voces Collections and Browse Stories feature

The Voces collections comprise interviews with Latinos, their associated stories and historical information. The current collections include stories from WWII, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam and Political & Civil Rights movements.

This content on the website is represented through a collections landing page, the browse stories page with advanced filtering options, and individual subject pages. The subject entries, which include a person’s historical photographs, biographical information and story or interview were populated through a bulk import process.

Collections Landing Page

The collections landing page features “explore” links inviting the user to view interview stories belonging to each individual collection (WWII, Korean conflict etc). The page displays a “Featured Stories” section, in which stories marked featured are promoted to this section. The page also describes what is in the Voces archive and how to access physical materials.

legacy and redesigned collections page
Redesigned collections page - desktop view (center), redesigned collections - mobile view (right)

Browse Stories

The Browse Stories page provides an aggregated view of all of Voces interview subjects and stories. A user can filter by collection, military branch, topic and interview location. The results displayed include the subject’s name, photo, story snippet and the person who performed the interview, with a link to view the full subject page.

legacy and redesigned comparison
Legacy browse stories page (left), redesigned browse stories page - desktop view (right)

Individual Subject Page

The individual subject page contains the full view of the subject’s metadata, which includes photos, collection they belong to, birth city, birth date, interview city, person who performed the interview, date of interview, and story.

legacy and redesigned comparison
Legacy subject screenshot (left), redesigned subject page - desktop view (center), redesigned subject page - mobile view (right)