Events Library News

User-Friendly Library Website Watch Party

The Northeast Kansas Library System is hosting a watch party on January 25 for the ALA TechSource online workshop, “10 Steps to a User-Friendly Library Website” with presenters Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches-Johnson.  I thought I would share in case any of the other Systems or KLOW libraries were interested in hosting their own Watch parties.  We have limited our NEKLS registration to 20, to allow for some lab time.

January 25, 2011

1:00 – 4:00 PM

Join us at NEKLS for a half day of website rejuvenation! This day will be a hybrid of live on-site work and virtual presentations.

1:00 – 1:30

NEKLS Tech Staff will introduce best practices and will help you set website improvement goals

1:30 – 3:00

Watch the ALA TechSource online workshop, “10 Steps to a User-Friendly Library Website” with presenters Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches-Johnson. A clean, well-designed website can mean the difference between an informed library user and a confused one. With a focus on the needs and wants of the library user, Amanda Etches-Johnson and Aaron Schmidt will help you develop the skills to make your library website easier to use and more interesting. Topics include: Determining the purpose of your website. Identifying your users’ critical tasks. Wrangling content. Writing for the web. How and when to conduct usability tests.

3:00 – 4:00

Optional time in the NEKLS lab, getting input on your website and making changes (bring a laptop if you wish)

Preliminary Reading Material

Please read or view the following materials in advance of the event:


Making Your Website Pop!

Jane Purcell, senior vice president of Advanced Access, a Web design and hosting firm in Anaheim Hills, California, says “I equate (having a good website) to a car. If you don’t put gas in it and get regular oil changes, it won’t perform for you. The same goes for the Web, where sites that aren’t useful or current do little good for their owners.”

That said, how do you make your site “pop?”

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Use strong headlines – Write engaging headlines that speak to the essential needs of your patrons, such as “Got Kids? Need a peaceful moment? Come to storytime!”
  2. Keep it up to date – there’s no point for your patrons to come to your website if there’s nothing new for them to look at. Keeping it updated at least every couple of weeks keeps your site fresh and interesting for patrons.
  3. Keep your information accurate – There’s nothing more frustrating than out of date content or bad links. Check your content every now and then, your patrons will thank you.
  4. Write patron centered copy – It’s their library, let them know that! Use you and your, instead of I and we.
  5. Write in an inverted-pyramid style – list what essential services your library provides first (the basics), and keep the details at the bottom. They’ll read down to the nitty gritty if they are really interested.
  6. Use small, context sensitive pictures in your posts – Not every post needs a photo or a graphic, but it can make your site look and feel a lot more fun. KLOW makes this easy as you can upload a photo to place on any post. You don’t have to use only photos, you can use royalty-free clip art as well (see the post below) to make a point or draw attention to a particular post.

I’m sure you have many ideas on what makes websites pop… what are your ideas?