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
Here’s one of my presentations for Computers in Libraries 2013 – great conference! I’m posting this one separately, since there’s some good stuff here. I poked around in Google, and condensed a lot of “web design predictions” posts into this handy list of 15 web design trends for 2013. Which ones are you thinking about?
- Content first
- Design simplicity
- UX Centered Design
- App style interfaces
- Responsive design
- No skeuomorphism
- Fixed header bars
- Large photo backgrounds
- CSS Transparency
- Social media badges
- Infinite scrolling
- Homepage feature tours
- Sliding panels
- Parallax design
Enjoy! I’ll post links to my other CIL 2013 presentations in another post.
I just read Your 4 Mobile Options by Paul Boag. Good stuff! In the article, Paul suggests that there are basically four options when it comes to having a mobile presence (taken from Paul’s article – you should go read the whole thing!):
- Responsive website: A responsive website is one that adapts to whatever device it is being viewed on. Whether that is a desktop computer, tablet or mobile device, the same website will display the same content using a visual design most suited to that device.
- Native application: Native apps are applications that run physically on the mobile device and are coded specifically for the operating system of that device. These are the applications you typically find in either the Google Play or iOS App Store.
Which one of these options should libraries use? Paul says this as a general rule of thumb: “A good starting point is to ask whether users are primarily completing a task or accessing information.”
I’d agree – that’s a good starting point. I’d go a bit farther, and say this – figure out what your mobile users are doing, and how they do it, and more importantly – WHAT they want to do. Then figure out the right flavor of mobile accessibility that best meets those needs. Also, figure out what you can do. For example, when my library was still on Horizon for our library catalog, we chose Boopsie because they could create a mobile version of our catalog (something our vendor hadn’t yet figured out). So we went with an app-driven mobile catalog.
We’re on Polaris now, and it comes with a web-based catalog that works great. Will we stay with our Boopsie app? Not necessarily, since the mobile version of Polaris works well. More on that later this year!
One other thing – if you haven’t yet started to think about the mobile web … why not? Pick something – anything – and start. Your smartphone-loving public is waiting!
Pic of Paul Boag from boagworld.com