I recently gave a webinar session on website UX for libraries as part of the cool SEFLIN Virtual Conference that went on last week. Here are my slides from my session – enjoy!
Usability. It’s something ALL websites should work on … all the time.
For example, check out this AirTran page. I was checking in and printing boarding passes for my daughter, and this page appeared. Directly underneath the “print now” label, there’s a button that says “continue.” The button is big, obvious, the text is bolded, and it’s right underneath the “print now” label.
Guess what I did? I clicked “continue.” Which was the wrong thing to do. There’s actually a “print” button there too, to the right of everything. Pushed off to the side, no bolded text, smaller, etc.
Do you think AirTran could improve this? Yep. Pretty easily.
Now – think about your websites. Is there anything … anything at all … that you could improve pretty simply?
Probably so. Go do it.
Iâ€™ve come to the end of my thoughts (for now) on developing an online first mentality for your library. Hereâ€™s a handy list of the whole series of articles:
Developing an Online First Mentality:
- Part One: What IS Online First?
- Part Two: In the Library?
- Part Three: Everything Online
- Part Four: Where does your community hang out?
- Part Five: thatâ€™s this article!
To finish up, here’s some further reading on the idea ofÂ creating an online first mentality. Enjoy!
- How you can change your company to be digital first
- Digital-first companies thrive on mobile disruption. Everyone else struggles.
- Digital First Business Implications
- Web First Mentality: Minor Victory No. 1
- Quick Check on the Web First Mentality
- Getting to the web-first mentality â€“ start with the Content ManagementÂ System
- Transitioning to a Web-first Mindset
- The Transition to Digital Journalism
- Web First in Practice
- How a Digital First approach guides a journalistâ€™s work
- How Digital First Media hopes to transform workflow, culture of newspaper factories
Thanks for reading!
Finishing up with this series. In this post, letâ€™s talk about something simple that relates to adapting an online first mentality.
Where are your customers?
Guess what? For most of the day, they are not in your library building.
Darn! So where are they? At school, at home, at work, in their cars, exercising, eating, etc. But NOT hanging out with you, at the library.
And thatâ€™s ok and normal, obviously.
But hereâ€™s the thing. You have access to your customers â€¦ even when they arenâ€™t in your building.
In fact, it’s quite possible you haveÂ BETTER access to them when they arenâ€™t in your building. Here’s what I mean – how many of you distribute your library staff throughout the public area of the library, like a store, to help people at the point of need? Not too many of us. For most of our customers, it’s very easy to visit the library, browse for a book, check it out, and leave without ever having to interact with library staff.
But online, your customersÂ are within reach:
- Teens.Â 95% of teens are online. When theyâ€™re at school, at home, even in your building â€¦ they are still online.
- Adults on Facebook. 57% of U.S. adults areÂ on Facebook. Over half! Now narrow that down to your community, and you can say that over half of your community is on Facebook.
- Adults and their mobile devices. 90% own cell phones, 58% own smartphones. Most of them are at work. Can you develop services and tools on those platforms to help them? Iâ€™d guess so.
So … if the majority of your customers are online instead of in your library … where should you be? What’s that look like in terms of staffing? In terms of events and classes and programs? In terms of your collection and reference tools?
Definitely something to think about!
Photo by David Goehring
In part three, letâ€™s make sure that everything your library does is represented online. At least, all the parts that customers interact with.
Whatâ€™s that mean? Think about what your library doesÂ for a second. Is everything – programs, events, services, etc. -Â represented online? Can you sign up for them online? If not – how come?
Sometimes, a library doesnâ€™t represent a service online â€¦ because it might become too popular. Seriously. Iâ€™ve heard of libraries purposely NOT sharing something online because of capacity issues.
It might be a book group with limited seating. It might be a service that the library couldnâ€™t handle if the service got too popular. Sorta like the In-N-Out Burger secret menu (if it wasn’t shared online) – if you happen to know about it, weâ€™ll do it. We just won’t tell you that’s an option.
There are a few ways to handle those situations:
- Consider NOT doing it anywhere. Either promote it and do it well, or donâ€™t do it at all. Maybe you should be focusing staff energy in other areas?
- Consider ramping it up. Gina Millsap, my libraryâ€™s CEO, likes to say that we â€œorganize around the work.â€ So if thereâ€™s more work to be done in a certain area, we shift staff to go do that. You could also hire more staff – if the service is truly popular and worthy of that type of investment (and, of course, if the powers-that-be say yes to that pricey request).
- Consider creating an alternative. Back to the book group idea for a second. My library does book groups. If more people want to start a book group, we have a cool service called Book Group in a Bag. We stuff 10 copies of a book in a bag, along with some “how to run a book group” instructions, and let customersÂ check it out â€¦ and start theirÂ own book groups.
SO can you represent everything your library does online? I think so – get busy!
Photo by Steve Rhodes