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CIL2010: Experience Design Makeover

   April 12th, 2010

CIL2010 David Lee KingMy first session at Computers in Libraries 2010: Experience Design Makeover by David Lee King

Have customers said your website is confusing? Does your website desperately need an experience design makeover? This session guides you through a real-life library website extreme makeover, focusing on experience design elements used. It provides five ways to jump-start your own experience design makeovers and leaves you with solid ideas to use on your own website!

Review of Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library website

  • Their website uses Expression Engine, will likely move to Drupal in the next interation
  • Modern websites should allow comments and provide feeds
  • Have Subject Feeds with new resources in those subjects, including Delicious bookmarks and new books
  • 240 staff person maintain 20+ blogs, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook web presence

How did they get there? Ask.
Staff: What do you like? What don't you like? What do you see patrons struggling with? What would you change?

What would you change?

  • Too noisy - too many tabs, too much movement, too busy
  • Content - need to separate out emphermiral blog content from permanent library services info, too much jargon
  • Catalog - needs to be more Amazon-like (more like everywhere else on the web)
  • Functionality - doesn't print well, not kid-friendly (not a parents page about kid information), footer is wasted, accessibility (need text-only)
  • Services - not everything is listed on website

Patrons: will do focus groups with the same questions as above

It's good to surprise people with how cutting-edge you are. It doesn't hurt the people who don't care, but it will really impress and involve the people who do.

Once you decide what you want, you need staff with the right skills to get you there. Just like you need the right staff at a service desk or branch library, you need to think the same way about your website.

Maintenance is key - staff need to be taught how to write for the web, use a digital style guide, train staff on Web 2.0 tools so they're using them correctly, delineate responsibility

5 Ways to Jumpstart Your Own Makeover

  1. Write an Experience Brief - the experience what you want people to have when they visit your website. Think about what you want it to be, and then plan for it and find the tools to support it. Think about target audience, what their needs are (from their points of view), how to put the information they need where they'll find it in terms they'll understand, including things relevant to them that they may not have thought of (classes, magazines [“deep web” subscription resources])
  2. Take a Touch Point Journey around your website (“touch point” is every time a patron comes in contact with the library) - “Get an Account” should be “Get a Library Card” (with prominent link text); form shouldn't be text-heavy - just use a picture of a library card
  3. Conversation is Experience - visors want to talk. Are you providing this ability? Do you answer them? This goes for your website but the rest of your online presence - Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  4. Answer the Why Questions - Put yourself in the patron's shoes and ask, Why should I read this? Why should I care about this page? Why should I attend this event? Do I care about “databases” or know what they are?
  5. Focus on the patron - Flip design from “staff-centric” to “patron-centric.” You can train staff, but you can't control patrons and you'll lose them quickly. Use patron-centric language, services, etc. Website should be as easy as a light switch to use.

How do you handle department responsibilities for content management?
We don't really have a gatekeeper - we train the staff and then trust them.

Can you eliminate the RSVP link in Facebook events?
We don't really use it. But there is a website for how to design a Facebook fan page.

How do you decide to cross-post and cross-promote everything?
We have a marketing director who handles most of that, but she does look at stats to see who our target audience is and use the appropriate tools

Cross browser-problems?
We have fewer problems with this, but we do check them

How do you get staff doing content?
Management team included “digital branch” in strategic plan, so creating content is a priority for staff (ranked in with shelving books and everything else)

Do you do usability testing?
Yes, we use focus groups just for questions, but we'll do limited “watching” of tasks

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2 Responses to “CIL2010: Experience Design Makeover”

  1. Brian Herzog Says:

    Fixed the links – I copy/pasted in from Open Office, and the “Smart Quotes” broke the links.

  2. HotStuff 2.0 » Blog Archive » Word of the Day: “cil2010″ Says:

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