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David Lee King



On Friday, I was getting ready to fly to Monterey, CA for Internet Librarian 2014, and needed to pay for something on my flight with American Airlines. The screenshot above is the credit card payment page on American Airline’s website.

It’s weird. Instead of running your name, address, etc left to right, they run everything up to down. So my name? There are three vertical boxes for first, middle initial, and last.

That’s pretty much like no other credit card page ever.

And it forced me to think about the functionality of the page. For example, I really, really wanted to type my middle initial in the Country box, and my last name in the City box. Then, since I’m used to typing left to right, when I reached the Street address box, I couldn’t enter my city next. I had to search for the City box … because 9 times out of 10, most of us generally type address, city, state, zipcode. Except, apparently, for American Airlines.

So instead of thinking about my purchase (paying $15 extra to board in group 1), I was having to think about where to type my middle initial and my city.

My point? Don’t ever force your website visitors to have to think about your website and your poorly-done forms. Keep website visitors focused and thinking about the things they really want to do (i.e., check out a book! borrow a movie! read your cool blog post! etc).

If your website visitors have to think about how the functionality of your website works … you have failed.

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Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailThe Teachers College Record just reviewed my book Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer Connections. It’s unfortunately behind a paywall now, but it’s a nice book review!

Here are some snippets from the review:

At a time when social networking is often criticized for driving humans apart, King’s book is upbeat and suggests that we have more of an opportunity to connect in authentic ways with others than ever before, both on a personal and organizational level. While of course nothing can substitute for true “face-to-face” communication, King’s book provides many examples of how social media tools might actually allow for more humanity in virtual venues than we might realize.

Having just finished Dave Eggers’s The Circle (Eggers, 2014), which paints quite a dystopian picture of social networking, it was somewhat of a balm to read King’s cheery tips. – hee… ok :-)

In a time when many school districts throughout the country still continue to exist at a level of alarmism that hasn’t been seen since Prohibition, King’s approach seems more of an appropriate required read, not only for business owners and organization leaders, but also for school board members and taxpayers.

Sweet! Go read the whole review ( if you already have an account there – silly paywalls).

And of course … go buy the book. Helpful link to Amazon included :-).

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Last week, I gave the opening keynote presentation at the Missouri Library Association‘s annual conference. Fun stuff! My talk swirled around the topics of changes taking place in the library and the technology world; services and processes that we need to adapt in order to be a modern library; and how to start small and larger revolutions in your library and in your job.
Here are my slides – enjoy!
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The short version: My library wrote and recorded a song, and here’s the Youtube video for it! You can also:

 Longer version: Why did we do this?

Earlier this year, my library remodeled the kids area of the library and rebranded it the Kids Library. Part of our grand opening included some of our YA staff writing a song, and library staff performed the song at the grand opening (I played drums! Video here).

Our Marketing Director liked the song so much that she sent the “library band” to a local recording studio to have the song professionally recorded.

Then we decided to go all out with it. I did a number of things with the song:

  • registered the song with the Copyright office.
  • set up a CDBaby account for the library. CDBaby allows us to easily get a song into iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, etc for purchase.
  • yes – we’re in iTunes!
  • the library now has a Soundcloud account.
  • and we made a music video for the song. Because these days, EVERY new song needs a Youtube music video, right?

What’s our goal? We simply want to share the song on our website, with our community, and with other libraries and librarians. The nice thing about the song? It’s very library-focused. So if other libraries wanted to use the song as opening theme music for their kids events, it might work well.

Difficulties along the way. There was a bit of a learning curve for me, mainly with CDBaby:

  • CDBaby is pretty strict with band names. We couldn’t be “the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library Band.” Apparently, you’re not supposed to mention brands or corporations in band names or album art. So the library band’s name is “The Literaries.”
  • CDBaby has two pricing options for songs – a basic one and a Pro version that includes ASCAP or BMI registration for broadcast royalties. Again, because this song was a work for hire by an organization, we couldn’t easily register the song. You can only sign up for ASCAP or BMI as an actual person/songwriter (not as an organization).

So – watch some of us (including yours truly) be a bit goofy and have some fun in the video. Listen to the song. If you think it might work for your library (or if you just like the song), please buy it!

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Guidelines for our Makerspace



The team of staff working on my library’s makerspace gave some good thought to policies, procedures, and more functional guidelines for use of the space and equipment.

For policies … well, we don’t have any. Other policies like our customer behavior policy and our computer use policy really cover everything we need. So we have a list of more functional “procedures” that can change as the space changes. Here’s what we have so far.

MakeIT Lab Procedures

Customers:

  • Normal customer behavioral guidelines apply
  • “Respect the space, respect the staff, respect the equipment, respect each other”
    • Hang this up in the room
    •  Refer to the customer conduct policy
  • Age limits:
    • Kids with supervision (under age 12)
    • Ages 12 and up without supervision

3D printer:

  • What can you print?
    • Whatever you can print in 3 hours
    • Stay with your print job
    • If the print has to finish after hours (i.e., customer started printing at 8pm, but print won’t finish until 11pm), staff will put finished print behind desk, and customer can pay the next day
  • How to print:
    • $5 per print
    • Pay using the checkout Kiosk, then get a receipt
    • Take receipt to Media Desk
    • Media Desk staff will set up the print job for customer

Room Procedures:

  • No prerequisites for room use
    • We will have tipsheets and some “getting started” videos, plus staff will know how to turn on the Mac, open up software, plug things in, etc.
    • If more help is needed, customer should schedule an appointment with a librarian
  • How many people in the room at the same time?
    • Up to 6 people in the room at a time
  • Checking out the room & time limits
    • 3 hours a day
    • Two door keys, with barcodes. We’ll technically check out the keys.
    • Customer will check out a key using Polaris (MakeIT Lab Key #1 and #2)
    • No reserves – first-come-first-serve basis
    • Staff will need to monitor the room to make sure customers aren’t going over 3 hours
    • Close when the library closes at 9pm

Reserving Media bags:

  • Use Polaris, like the other bags
  • 7-day check out
  • Customers can place it on hold
  • Pick up at the Reference desk

That’s what we have right now. Are some of your policies, procedures, or guidelines different than ours? Please share!

Guideline image from Make Magazine

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