How Engaging is Your Website?

I just read Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries, by the Aspen Institute.

On page 15, they talked about the library as place. I was struck by this:

The library as it exists within virtual space must be considered as a wholly independent but highly integrated experience; that is, the library’s virtual presence must be as engaging as its physical space and fully serve the library’s mission built around equitable access, learning and civic development.

Wow. Did you catch that? ” … as engaging as its physical space…” and “fully serve the library’s mission …”

Are we there yet? Look around your building, your service points, your programs. Your most popular stuff. Then look at your digital spaces.

Are we there yet? I don’t think so.

Pic by Quinn Dombrowski

My Presentations at Internet Librarian 2014

 

Last week, I gave four presentations at Internet Librarian 2014. As usual, it was a really useful conference, full of takeaways for me.

Here are the presentations I gave:

Web Trends to Watch in 2015: web design trends to watch for, think about, and maybe adapt (included in this post).

Emerging Technology Trends in Libraries for 2015: 10 emerging technology trends, and how they might affect libraries. This was a three hour pre-conference session.

Make your Website UX ROCK: All about basic website UX improvements.

Five Firsts of Website Strategy: This one was presented at the Library Leaders Digital Strategy Summit, which ran concurrently to Internet Librarian. Fun time! I prepared slides, and then the format changed at the last minute. So instead of slides, I gave short table talks about my topic. Much fun and some good discussion happened.

Enjoy!

Making you Think (in a Bad Way)

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.