Design for People

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on responsive design lately (because my library is headed towards that), and that made me think. When designing websites, we tend to design for devices. That’s what responsive design is all about – it’s coding in such a way that your website “responds” appropriately to different screen sizes (i.e., desktops, tablets, smartphones). We design for things: for a desktop; for a screen; for a browser; for a tablet or smartphone.

Nothing wrong with that – a modern website has to work on all those devices, right?

But I also think we need to shift our focus a bit, to where it really counts. And that focus is not on the screen.

We need to design for people.

What’s that change?

We still need to do all the usual stuff – i.e., use great css, work on making our websites responsive, think about screensizes, readability, contrasting colors, etc.

But let’s also focus on people:

  • Put content first.
  • Ask customers what content they want … and then create that content!
  • Answer the why, what, and who questions.
  • Provide next steps and calls to action on ALL content.
  • Make asking questions and getting responses easy and seamless.
  • This works for our physical and our digital branches.
  • What else? Add to my list in the comments…

Simply put – put people first.

pic by Nicola Albertini

Seven Strategies for Growing Community on your Blog

I recently saw this post at problogger.net about strategies for growing community on your blog, and thought the suggestions were great. Here are the 7 strategies mentioned:

  1. Write in a conversational voice. I usually call this “talk like you type.”
  2. Invite interaction. That means you need to ask people what they think!
  3. Consider a dedicated community area. This can be accomplished by creating a forum or a Facebook Group, for example.
  4. Use interactive and accessible mediums. Blogs that allow comments, Google Plus hangouts, etc.
  5. Run projects and challenges. These are basically tricky ways to jumpstart conversations and interaction. Examples include a 31 Days to a better …” set of posts, or a Photo a Day meme.
  6. Real life events. talk about what’s actually happening in your community. Relate it back to your library.
  7. Put your readers in the spotlight. Use guest posts, link to them on social media discussions, comment on their blogs, etc.

I’m curious – anyone do any of these? Which ones are the most useful in your library or blog?

Pic by Chiot’s Run

My #ideadrop presentation During SXSWi

Video streaming by Ustream

While I was at SXSW in Austin, TX last week, I had the pleasure of giving a presentation/interview/livestream at the #ideadrop house. The video is embedded in this post.

What’s the ideadrop house? From the livestream text:

“On 3/8, DLF brings you a live stream of the ER&L + ProQuest #ideadrop house in Austin, TX. The #ideadrop house is a space dedicated to library and information professionals to experience the diversity of SXSW speakers in the context of libraries and library-related technologies and topics.

Influencers, thought leaders, artists, hacktivists, academics and creators join the #ideadrop library house during March 8-12 at SXSW Interactive to discuss many topics including: SOPA/PIPA, free speech, privacy, open access, archives, values, humanity, civic start up efforts, civil liberty, liberty, network freedom, information access, open data, museums, community engagement, ux, social media, digitization and open source technologies.

Live streaming made possible by the Digital Library Federation (DLF)”

So – Lisa Carlucci and I talked about online conversations and community in the library world – fun talk! Make sure to watch and listen … then leave a comment here!

Five Tips to Reshape your Social Media Plan in 2013


[This is an article I wrote for my book, Face2Face – I thought it would make a great post here, too – enjoy! DLK]

Social media has been around for over ten years. My guess is that by now, your organization is probably involved in some way with social media. Maybe you have created a Twitter or Facebook account. Maybe you even have some friends and fans on those accounts, and you share things with them when you have time.

Let’s rework this in 2013. Social media is now mainstream, and your customers are using it to connect. They connect easily to each other, and since the tool is the same, they’ll find it easy to connect to your organization, too… if you make a few easy-to-do adjustments in your approach to business-facing social media.

Here are five simple adjustments you can make to kick-start your organization’s social media efforts in 2013:

1. Focus on Conversations

First off, let’s focus on conversations. Many organizations and businesses have been using social media status updates as a broadcasting tool. They send out notices of events, sales, or coupons. Possibly, they have used social media as an easy outlet to send out press releases and important corporate announcements.

My new book - Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer ConnectionsGuess what? If your organization focuses primarily on sending out corporate communications, your customers will tune out your organization and unfriend you in a heartbeat. In 2013, instead of using social media as a one-way broadcast tool, work on starting and continuing conversations with your customers.

This will require your organization to do three important things: 1. Listen before you speak. Set up some listening tools (Google alerts and Twitter search alerts are good places to start) to see what your customers are saying about you; 2. Respond, using colloquial, conversational language. This will feel weird if you’re used to more formal marketing-speak. Make it feel like you’re talking to a work colleague at the water cooler – do this, and people will start talking to you. And 3 – figure out what types of conversations YOU want to start. Do some brainstorming on the conversations your organization needs to hear in 2013, and start those conversations.

2. Focus on the Visual

For the most part, many businesses and organizations have been posting text-heavy status updates in their social media accounts. That makes sense in text-based Twitter, but not so much in Facebook. In fact, Facebook best practices show that when you do one simple thing – add a photo or a video to your post – engagement increases by 100% or more.

So get those cameras out of your pockets (yes, that iPhone or Android smartphone makes a great point-and-shoot camera), and start taking photos around the office, the warehouse, or the store. Maybe think about the three most important things that your customers should know about your organization, take photos of that, then share those photos with customers.

3. Focus on Video

That smartphone I just mentioned in #2 is also HD quality video recorder, and we can put it to good use! There’s a reason YouTube is so popular right now – people love watching short videos. Studies show that people engage more with video posts than with text-only posts.

Here’s my guess – most likely, you haven’t made many videos for your organization. If you have created some videos, it probably resembled a TV commercial. That’s not what your customers want to watch. Instead, get to the point immediately – YouTube suggests that the first 15 seconds are critical to connect with viewers. So don’t waste those seconds with titles, fade-ins, and credits.

Just start sharing your main points. Then post that video to two places – YouTube and Facebook. Use YouTube to share in most places, and use the Facebook upload to share with your Facebook page fans. Facebook’s algorithm favors videos uploaded to Facebook, so those will get seen more than a shared YouTube video.

4. Focus on Next Steps

Many times organizations post information to their social media accounts, but don’t include anything for customers to do. They don’t include a next step. Let’s change that in 2013. Make sure that everything you do includes some type of “ask.” That ask can be as simple as asking customers to “friend or fan” a Facebook Page, or the ask might be to click a link that takes them to a new product or a buy-it-now page.

More people will click if you actually ask them to click. Because of this, make sure to provide customers with some next steps, and actually invite them to take that next step. Do that, and your organization will be one step closer to continued engagement with customers.

5. Focus on your Customers!

Finally, most businesses and organizations, believe it or not, don’t actually focus on their customers! Instead, they focus on their stuff, on their showroom floor, or on their sales staff. In 2013, let’s focus on our customers. Engage them in conversation. Ask them if they like what they’re seeing. Ask them to take next steps, and invite them into your organization.

Follow these five simple reshaping steps, and you will be well on your way to having a great 2013 with social media, and with some really engaged customers, too.

pic by Tintin44