What Does This Mean to Me, Laura?


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What Does This Mean to Me, Laura?

usability

Stop putting out the “welcome mat”

27th October 2010

Welcome mat with large X through itThe temptation is overwhelming. After all, libraries are friendly places, right? We wouldn’t want our patrons to think they weren’t welcome. It’s so nice and friendly to put a big “Welcome to our library website!” heading at the top of the front page, right?

Sorry…no.

Remember, every square inch of your library’s website is extremely valuable. Your library uses tax dollars to pay for it. It costs staff time (still resulting in spent tax dollars) to maintain it. In many cases, a patron will see your website before they ever see (and sometimes, instead of seeing) your building. Because that front page area is so critical, it’s essential that your library use it wisely.

That space on the front page, above the fold, is your library’s equivalent to “Boardwalk” in the game of Monopoly It’s the single most valuable space on your website. This is where the most important announcements made by your library should go. Typically, when I see “Welcome to our library’s website,” I know I’m looking at a library that doesn’t know how to best utilize its front space. I recommend using that space for promoting library programs that you really want to rustle up an audience for. Levy information. Weather closings. The big summer reading finale.  Etcetera. That space is intended for things the library wants to promote that are truly noteworthy.

What does this mean to me, Laura?

Here’s the thing: if people weren’t welcome on your library’s website, you would have password-protected it, right? People are inherently welcome to your library’s site. They don’t need a literal, text-based welcome mat.

The temptation is overwhelming. After all,
libraries are friendly places, right? We wouldn’t
want our patrons to think they weren’t welcome.
It’s so nice and friendly to put a big
“Welcome to our library website!” heading at
the top of the front page, right?
Sorry0.no.
Remember, every square inch of your library’s
website is extremely valuable. Your
library uses tax dollars to pay for it. It costs
staff time (still resulting in spent tax dollars) to
maintain it. In many cases, a patron will see
your website before they ever see (and sometimes,
instead of seeing) your building. Because
that front page area is so critical, it’s
essential that your library use it wisely.
That space on the front page, above the fold,
is your library’s equivalent to “Boardwalk” in
the game of Monopoly It’s the single most
valuable space on your website. This is
where the most important announcements
made by your library should go.
Typically, when we see “Welcome to our library’s
website,” we know we’re looking at a
library that doesn’t know how to best utilize
their front space. We recommend using that
space for promoting library programs that you
really want to rustle up an audience for. Levy
information. Weather closings. Etcetera.
That space is intended for things the library
wants to promote that are truly noteworthy.
Here’s the thing: if people weren’t welcome
on your library’s website, you would have
password-protected it, right? People are inherently
welcome to your library’s site. They
don’t need a literal, text-based welcome mat.
This issue
Stop putting out the “welcome mat”
P.1
Focus on Tuscarawas County Public
Library P.2
Make One Thing Better P.3
Oc to b e r
2 0 10
05
Get the most out of your OPLIN Website Kit
Stop putting out the “welcome mat

Comments

  • TechnobraryGeek
    Posted at 10:20 am October 27, 2010
    TechnobraryGeek
    Author

    WELCOME to my comment.

    AMEN sister Laura! However, don’t you know that the people in “my” library’s area are different? Don’t you know they use the web an ENTIRELY different way than anywhere else? That I, and I alone, know how these folks work.

    OK obviously tongue firmly placed in cheek here. But, it’s not just “a library that doesn’t know how to best utilize its front space” Often, they THINK they do.

    So, let’s make it a truly representative welcome, like:

    Welcome to our library (you know the one pictured in the header) website, where if you need to know more “About Us” feel free to click it wherever it may be on the page.

    OK, yes this hit a nerve today, but I feel MUCH better now.

  • Shelley B.
    Posted at 4:06 pm October 27, 2010
    Shelley B.
    Author

    Laura,

    Would having a comment like this:

    indicate having a welcome mat? 🙂

  • Shelley B.
    Posted at 6:42 pm October 27, 2010
    Shelley B.
    Author

    Neat that your blog accepts html comments — show the code w/ the last comment, please!

Comments are closed.