Monday, April 14, 2008

Have you Tried to Meet Your Patrons Where They Are?

One of my favorite blogs, Tame the Web by Michael Stevens, had a post about how many libraries don't offer texting services (cell phone texting.) And one comment on that post struck me as really hitting the nail on the head. Thought I'd share:
I’m like a lot of people in that I’ve gradually moved a lot of activity on to the web, whether it’s renewing my car registration, checking my bank balance, buying a book, or borrowing one. The library web site is just about the least convenient interface I use regularly. Just as one example, if I do a search and locate a book I want, I need to log in to request it, but when I do that I lose my search. The terminology is just a little bit specialized, and it’s not even consistent: after I log in to “my account” I can see “my patron record”. Can you imagine Amazon or LL Bean having a “patron record”? I’m not that interested in bashing the library for having a poor web site, but you can see that any confusion in the user interface is going to mean more friction, and that will ultimately translate into fewer borrowers.

It's food for thought!