Laura Solomon, MCIW, MLS, is the Library Services Manager for the Ohio Public Library Information Network. She has been doing web development and design for over twenty years, in both public libraries and as an independent consultant. She specializes in developing with Drupal. She is a 2010 Library Journal Mover & Shaker. She’s written three books about social media and content marketing, specifically for libraries, and speaks nationally on both these and technology-related topics. As a former children’s librarian, she enjoys bringing the “fun of technology” to audiences and in giving libraries the tools they need to better serve the virtual customer.
- Table of Contents
- About the Authors
There’s no such thing as a perfect website. But the key to making your library's website relevant and useful begins with designing for the user, not the staff. In this issue of Library Technology Reports (vol. 58, no. 3), bestselling library technology expert Laura Solomon looks at the common preconceptions of library websites and web design, working towards an understanding of what makes a useful, relevant library website that is user-friendly. She lays out easily implementable changes to improve your website, shares other useful website design tips, and provides strategies for creating an effective web presence.
Chapter 1 – Overcoming Preconceptions of the Perfect Library Website: Anecdotes versus Research
- There’s No Such Thing as a Perfect Website
- Website Work Begins with Education
- Modern Web Building Is Far Beyond That Bit of HTML You Learned in Grad School
- When It Comes to the Website, Are You Like a Climate Change Denier?
- The Plural of Anecdote Is NOT Data
Chapter 2 – Design for the User, Not the Staff
- The Challenges of Library Web Design
- Three Truths about Your Library’s Website
- What If Your Website Solved Problems?
- Why Your Website Should Not Be a Special Snowflake
- Why Do Web Myths Live On in Libraries?
- Three Things You Can Learn from Other Websites
- You Are Not a Patron. So Act Like It
Chapter 3 – Make Your Website Relevant and Useful
- New Might Be Shiny . . . but Is It Useful?
- Your Building Is Not Your Product
- Your Home Page Isn’t Nearly as Important as You Think It Is
- Are You Designing for Something That Isn’t There Anymore?
- Widgets Are Cute. Get Rid of Them
- Stop Putting Out the Welcome Mat
- The “Three-Click Rule” Has Been Hogwash Since Its Inception
Chapter 4 – Easily Implementable Changes to Improve Your Website
- Make Your Links and Buttons More Effective
- Got Pictures? You’re Missing a Step
- Level Up Your Website with This One Little Thing
- Make Search Less Painful for Your Users
Chapter 5 – Website Design Tips
- Why I (Sort of) Hate Carousels and You Probably Should Too
- Does Your Content Stink?
- Stop Disenfranchising 25 Percent of Your Website’s Users
- You’re Not in Control, and That’s a Good Thing
- Does Anybody Actually Work Here?
- A Picture Says 1,000 Words. Sometimes, That’s Too Many
Chapter 6 – Creating an Effective Web Presence
- Nobody Is Reading Your Stuff
- Where’s the Payoff? Writing So People Give a Damn
- Want a Better Presence Online? Get Over Yourself