I recently got back from the Internet Librarian Conference in Monterey, California. It was an enlightening experience in a wonderful setting; I hope to be going back there again next year. We are even considering writing a proposal to present there next year as we are currently in the process of re-designing our website.
Since we are in the re-design process, we have been doing a lot of research on the subject; the tracks of presentations that we followed for the most of the time at the conference were about website design and user experiences. Before going to the conference we sat through a webinar called “Building the Digital Branch: Designing Effective Library Websites” which was presented by the author of this book. We also saw him speak at one of the conference presentations called “Websites at the Next Level”. After hearing him speak on these occasions, I felt that he was very knowledgeable about the subject, and I bought this book and even had him sign it at the author event at the conference.
I read a good portion of the book on the long flight home; it is really a pretty quick read. The book is all about designing websites with the user’s experience in mind. It’s not what we as librarians think should be on our websites, it’s what our customer needs to have there. We need to think about website design in terms of what the user is trying to accomplish – what they are trying to research or find needs to be immediately accessible in three clicks or less. Our user needs to come away from the experience of using our website feeling good about what they were able to accomplish and consequently about our library. Too many times websites are designed around the information that we want to present instead of what our users need and this book will help in the design of websites that give our users a good experience in their online interaction with us. If your library or other business is considering redesigning your website, this book is a must-read.