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.

Register for this UX Virtual Conference

Make sure to register!

I’m participating in a really cool virtual conference this Friday focused on UX for libraries. Here’s the info:

What: User Experience: Seeing Your Library through the User’s Eyes

When: Friday, September 19, 2014

Description: User Experience, or UX, is an increasingly important way of evaluating and informing library practices. UX focuses on knowing about our patrons and understanding their perspectives, then using that to inform everything that libraries do, from our websites to the services we provide to the physical layout of our buildings. Join five nationally recognized experts on user experience in libraries for this one-day, live online conference!

Speakers include: Michael Stephens, Aaron Schmidt, Kathryn Whitenton, Elliot Felix, and David Lee King

Make sure to register!

Internet Librarian 2011, Day 2: Designing for Optimal UX

Nate Hill, Web Librarian, San Jose Public Library

Chris Noll, Noll & Tam Architects

Slide on the screen:

Because of the Internet, access to:
Books and other documents have gone from Read to Read/Write
Photo and video output has gone from View to View/Edit
Music and other audio has gone from Listen to Listen/Remix

Nate is introducing the topic of libraries starting to support content creation, and the models behind that.

Chris:

Contra Costa has used vending machines in shopping malls, etc. Washington County is using reserve boxes.

Boston Chinatown Storefront Library – community driven library

Houston – small small branch…

DC – Kiosk branches…

Greenbridge Library – took a community center, and developed part of it into a library

Idea Stores in London. Mix up libraries, cafes, etc.

Morgan Hill Library – self checkout, check in, self help holds, etc – very self-driven

Nate:

talking about the Digital Public Library or America project and their beta sprint. Realized we will still need physical spaces to create digital content.

LibraryLab idea:

broken into modules like audio and video creation, scanning, collaboration, etc

Chris: talking about creating furniture for these creative types of spaces …

Give people access to tools. Some libraries check out tools or musical instruments. Why not video cameras, microphones, etc?

Why not have design tools – desktop publishing, CAD/CAM tools, 3D printers, etc? The library could support these things.

They want this project to happen … but need funding, etc.

Three Questions every webpage should answer, #1: What can I do here?

Question #1Ever visited a webpage, then looked around, wondering “what can I do here?”

If you have … that web designer failed!

I think every webpage should answer the question “what can I do here?” either visually, or by spelling it out:

  • Visually: design in such a way that the stuff you can do on a page, like clicking a button, filling in a text box, or even just reading or watching content, is extremely noticeable. Amazon does this by using complimentary colors that “pop” out on the page. They often use blue as a header or sidebar color, but the buttons they really want you to see (ie, the “buy now” button) are orange – a complimentary color.
  • Spelling it out: Use words, colors, graphics, etc to “spell it out” for people – tell or show website visitors what to do on the page. For example, we try to do this at my library’s website. The main page directs people to “Get a Library Card,” “Donate Now,” “Find Stuff,” “Ask a Librarian,” or Subscribe to our blog posts. People know what to do on our site, because we direct them.

On your library’s website, do people know “What can I do here” when they visit the main page? How about the catalog page, the “you didn’t find anything” page, or on your blog? At the comment box? On your Facebook Page even?

Think about it … and make sure to answer the question “What can I do here?”