Here are the slides from my "Mobile First" and Responsive Web Design portion of the "Mobilizing the User Experience" session from Tuesday's UX track. Hope everyone got a chance to take in the cherry blossoms in DC!
Okay, so our redesign/rebuild (in Drupal, natch) of our kids' web site is underway. I've done plenty of grown-up library web sites, but we had a brainstorming meeting the other day that left me feeling sans direction. So, I came up with these three COMPLETELY HYPOTHETICAL personas. Yes, entirely fictional. Heh.
So today I let go of a project that has been a huge part of my professional life since 2006. At that time, I had just started my job at the University of Colorado Denver's Auraria Library. As a new hire, I was a librarian and a member of the tenure-track faculty and thus looking for venues in which to cultivate research and service commitments, which accounted for 40% of my performance plan. An opportunity arose to guest edit an issue of Colorado Libraries, our state association's quarterly journal.
Get copies for the holidays! Gift wrap available! So happy to see that Designing and Developing Library Intranets was released on August 20th! This great resource is the result of the collaboration of over a dozen wonderful colleagues, originally published as a special double issue of The Journal of Web Librarianship (issue 4, volumes 2/3). I'm reminded seeing it today of the great experience editing the contributions from these wonderful people!
As more and more libraries strive to achieve a data-driven culture, it's important to ensure that the data we're relying on is reporting what we think it's reporting about our users. While library staff are users, too, they're superusers, and their behavior in our online environments is not typical of the majority of our customers. So, how can we be sure that we're getting accurate data from web analytics software reports to improve the end user experience? The answer is filtering staff use out of our web site analytics data.
Library web developers typically dread decision-making meetings, because when it comes to the library's web site, everyone has strong, and almost always differing, opinions. Determining a process that is rigorous, yet fair, and allows everyone's voice be heard is a challenge. The result is all-too-often a "design-by-committee" disaster: a web site design and information architecture based on internal politics rather than end user wants and needs. No one is happy with the final product, and everyone who was involved in the meetings just wishes for those precious hours of life back.
Since III doesn't "provide third-party server support," here's the HTML form code to create an accessible (i.e., Section 508) account login for your Innovative Interfaces, Inc., catalog. I created this login widget based on the responses we received in a recent web use survey at the Arapahoe Library District. We asked the open-ended question, "I most often use the library web site to:" and 58% percent of the respondents indicated some function related to their library account.
One of the most difficult things about migrating a library web site from a static or non-CMS site into Drupal is getting your head around custom content types. Drupal comes with two content types out-of-the-box-"article" and "basic page"-but the possibilities for creating custom web site content are limitless. Because it's so easy to create custom content types, it's easy to overthink and end up with too many.
So, I've had a week to think about personal and professional resolutions-can't rush in to these things, you know. Personally, it's to get my house in order. Literally. I spent most of Saturday with my very patient 6-year-old daughter scouring Target and hardware stores in the southern burbs of Denver for two gigantic tubs that would hold the parts of our artificial Christmas tree. At every store, sales were not only on discounted holiday items, but on plastic bins of every fathomable size, shape, and color. How very nice of major retail to support my quest for organization!
Few things strike more dread and horror into the hearts of librarians and library staff than the words "web site redesign." Ten years of managing web sites for four libraries (three academics, one public) and hearing of similar experiences from web colleagues has shown me that this is universal. Changes-real and even merely proposed-often result in intense emotional reactions, especially for public services folks doing reference and instruction.
The veil is getting thin my friends,
And strange things will pass through.
-Traditional Celtic poem