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Uncategorized

Great thing for social media

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

The standard chunk of Lorem Ipsum used since the 1500s is reproduced below for those interested. Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by English versions from the 1914 translation by H. Rackham.

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CVL-Collections

First post

Bacon ipsum dolor amet tri-tip prosciutto strip steak meatball chuck kielbasa. Beef tenderloin ball tip cow. Salami kielbasa sausage pork loin, boudin biltong jerky turducken chicken bresaola bacon buffalo. Leberkas alcatra doner sausage landjaeger pork belly swine boudin shank frankfurter ham chicken drumstick. Ribeye frankfurter capicola tri-tip meatloaf filet mignon. T-bone filet mignon tongue landjaeger. Leberkas short loin t-bone shoulder ground round, pork flank doner tail.

Doner pork loin tenderloin, pancetta pork belly bacon kielbasa frankfurter boudin. Ball tip chicken short loin porchetta prosciutto strip steak. Salami bresaola frankfurter short loin beef strip steak tail kielbasa cow cupim leberkas meatball tri-tip burgdoggen. Bacon short ribs turducken pig, andouille jerky filet mignon pork chop shank ball tip porchetta meatloaf shankle shoulder sirloin. Tongue biltong kevin ham shoulder flank turducken frankfurter landjaeger beef bacon doner.

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Website Creation & Hosting

Another Web Post

Lincoln Memorial statue by Daniel Chester French

There are many variations of passages of Lorem Ipsum available, but the majority have suffered alteration in some form, by injected humour, or randomised words which don’t look even slightly believable. If you are going to use a passage of Lorem Ipsum, you need to be sure there isn’t anything embarrassing hidden in the middle of text. All the Lorem Ipsum generators on the Internet tend to repeat predefined chunks as necessary, making this the first true generator on the Internet. It uses a dictionary of over 200 Latin words, combined with a handful of model sentence structures, to generate Lorem Ipsum which looks reasonable. The generated Lorem Ipsum is therefore always free from repetition, injected humour, or non-characteristic words etc.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Another State Pubs Post

There are many variations of passages of Lorem Ipsum available, but the majority have suffered alteration in some form, by injected humour, or randomised words which don’t look even slightly believable. If you are going to use a passage of Lorem Ipsum, you need to be sure there isn’t anything embarrassing hidden in the middle of text. All the Lorem Ipsum generators on the Internet tend to repeat predefined chunks as necessary, making this the first true generator on the Internet. It uses a dictionary of over 200 Latin words, combined with a handful of model sentence structures, to generate Lorem Ipsum which looks reasonable. The generated Lorem Ipsum is therefore always free from repetition, injected humour, or non-characteristic words etc.

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Website Creation & Hosting

New Website Post

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

The standard chunk of Lorem Ipsum used since the 1500s is reproduced below for those interested. Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by English versions from the 1914 translation by H. Rackham.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

New State Pubs Post

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

The standard chunk of Lorem Ipsum used since the 1500s is reproduced below for those interested. Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by English versions from the 1914 translation by H. Rackham.

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CSL News

OMG–another post!

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Learning

Still another new post

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Digital Colorado

Yet Another New Post

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20th Century & Beyond

Another New Post

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CSL News

A New Post

This is just a test of the notification widget.

 

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Website Creation & Hosting

Start Up a U/X Café at Your Library

This is a guest post by Kati Polodna, Web Systems Assistant at Arapahoe Libraries.

Feel unsure of what your patrons want when they visit your library website? Is traditional patron feedback not enough to give you what you need to make your library’s website both amazing and accessible? It’s time to think outside the box and start a U/X Café!

What is a U/X Café?

Arapahoe Libraries web team visited library branches with a laptop, a series of questions or a short task, and an incentive, to speak to patrons for no more than ten minutes, to gather website feedback. Why a café? It’s friendly—and we offered free coffee!

Know Thyself

Ask yourself:

  • What website problems do we need to solve?
  • What do I want to improve on the website?
  • Why do I want to improve the website?
  • Would [that change] benefit the patron?
  • How many changes should I make at once?
  • How much of the website is customizable?

Know Thy Audience

Ask yourself:

  • What kind of users use your website? We broke down our users into two categories.
    • User1: Browsers/Discoverers
      • Browsers/Discoverers like to visit the website, aren’t limited by time, like to browse and discover
    • User2: Direct Users
      • These users know exactly what they want and expect it to be where they think it should be and they know how to get what they want, may also be short on time
  • How can you meet the needs of both Browsers and Direct Users?
    • Can you place information in multiple places, like side menus, top menus, footers and headers?
    • Look at other popular websites for inspiration to see how other libraries and companies solved your issue
      • Where do you log in?
      • Where is the search bar?
      • Where do you look for help, hours, locations and more?
  • What are peak times at my library? (That’s so you can interview the most patrons!)
    • What we learned: two peak times, after story times and late afternoon/after school but before dinner
    • Consider having a U/X café after a popular program, but not too late in the day because patrons want to go home

Homework Time

First, it’s important to remember that you are not your user. You know too much about the website. You are too involved. This is not “designer” experience. This is “user” experience. So think about your audience.These questions can help you get a baseline for your users.

  • Do your users primarily use a desktop or mobile?
  • How often do patrons use your website?
  • What do patrons primarily use the website for?
  • What do patrons wish they could find easily?
  • And, something to ask yourself, who do you not see using the website, and why?

Which of these two processes sounds like you?

  • Are you adding a new webpage, library service or something else to the website? Are you renaming a service or something similar?
  • Is it just time for a refresh?
    • Not sure where to start? Review your analytics and determine if you can make website improvements based off analytics.
      • Do you have a lot of bounces? Can you figure out why and what you can do to improve that?
      • What are your popular pages? Do you want to revamp those pages first?
      • What are your least popular pages? Do you want those pages to be more popular?
      • Are there pages you expected to be popular that aren’t? Why is that? And what can you do to drive traffic?

Mini Case Study

Arapahoe Libraries wanted to update our online resources;it was time to both clean up and simplify patrons’ access to nearly 100 databases. First, we needed identify the problem or what you would like to improve: too many databases could overwhelm patrons. Next, we reviewed how our online resources currently look, what issues we saw, and what we thought we could change to improve our patrons’ online resources experience. During our hard look, we brainstormed ideas and we also worked to avoid jargon. For example, what does “online resource” mean versus a “database”? What does the term “research” imply if you’re in a public library versus an academic library?

Start small. We thought about where one database could go, like the popular Consumer Reports database. Could it live under a business category, a consumer category or something else? What are common themes between online resources? What are broad categories multiple databases can fit under? Create a few mock ups either on paper or in your sandbox.

Show your mock ups to involved parties, and who are those involved parties? Are there super user librarians who can give you honest feedback? What about floor staff who spend time working with patrons and may have insights you hadn’t considered? Take a step back for a few days and comeback to it with fresh eyes. Which mock ups were the most popular and/or intuitive? After that, it’s almost time to show your mock ups to patrons.

Build the Right Questions

Now that you have mock ups, create a specific task or tasks for patrons to complete that reflect the end goal of your project. Build that task into a scenario and keep it short, ten minutes or less. Here are two examples.  

  1. If you wanted to find an eBook to download from an app called OverDrive, under what online resource category would you browse?
  2. Let’s say you want to purchase a new vacuum cleaner. You’ve heard the library has product reviews. Where you would find that information?

Which scenario will give you unbiased information from your patron? Example 2. When writing a scenario, don’t want to give away any information that could sway the patron. In the first example, which uses words like “app” and “online resource,” you’ve directed the patron how to navigate. That doesn’t help you learn how a patron thinks through a question. The second example avoids words like Consumer Reports, database or online resource. While the second example is more vague, it forces the patron to think through where they might start looking for information even if they don’t have all the information. That helps you understand how patrons browse your website.

However, if you are trying to improve a specific task, like asking patrons how they would find hoopla, you may want to use a direct question. That question would appeal to your users who are direct when going to your website, but think about how that question would affect users who tend to browse. You could phrase the question two ways: Where would you find hoopla? and A friend told you that the library has movies you can download. How do you find them?

It’s two ways of asking the same question. You may find that patrons don’t know what hoopla is. A patron may go about the task in a completely unexpected way that you hadn’t considered. Or you may find that patrons consistently answer the same. That’s all helpful information for you to take back and digest and then use to improve your user’s experience.

Talking Time

How do you get patrons to participate? Ask! It’s going to be weird. It’s going to be hard. And you’re going to get rejected. That’s okay. Eventually, someone will participate. Try to offer an incentive, like free coffee or a stylus pen, something that’s useful and doesn’t feel or look cheap.Keep asking. Be upbeat and friendly, but not too insistent. Wear your name tag. Don’t take any negative feedback personally. Patrons don’t know you and they don’t know how much of the website you created.

Set Up

  • Write down your questions in a script format.
  • Bring a colleague with you: one to ask the questions and one to take notes.
  • Bring a laptop with a mouse. Not all patrons are comfortable using a trackpad.
  • Notice what patrons spend the most time doing,like hovering over menus or what links they click as they go along.
  • Once the patron is done, take time to discuss your observations and write down those observations before moving on to the next patron.

Ask patrons to talk aloud as they go. Tell them that you aren’t judging them. You are testing the site, not the patron and not their abilities. If a patron has trouble with the tasks, that means there’s a problem with the website, not them, and it’s going to help you fix problems and build abetter website. If patrons ask questions while completing tasks, do not answer them. Let the patron work through the process or task themselves. And if they don’t complete the task, tell that it’s okay and move on.

At the end of the task, ask the patrons the following:

  • What did you expect to do/find?
  • What did you find confusing?

Then you can ask specific questions about their answers,such as “What about [X] makes you associate with [X] words?” An example: We asked patrons where they would register for a storytime. Some patrons navigated to the Services tab and some navigated to the Events tab. Have them explain their reasoning behind their choices. And, don’t forget to tell patrons the answer at the end if they were stumped or confused—it’s nice!

Mini Case Study

We wanted to refresh our Makerspace page from a page to a“hub” of information. Something we hadn’t considered until user testing was how patrons hear the word “Makerspace.” Patrons, who were unfamiliar with the Makerspace, heard it as “Makers Space” or “Maker Space.” Since some patrons were unfamiliar with the term, they searched for it, and because they didn’t know how to spell it, they had an even more difficult time finding the page. Patrons also didn’t notice that the search bar defaults to a catalog search,not a website search. Pay attention to repetitive behaviors too—if a patron doesn’t know where to start looking, do they spend time browsing the header/footer/menus or do they default to searching for their answer? What can you learn from those repetitive behaviors? What can you do to improve your patrons’ experience?

Next Steps

Make small changes based off your user testing. Share it again with your stakeholders and super users. Take out what you learned into the branches. Make your changes based off user testing, but keep the “old” method in place for a set time period. Share those changes with staff.

Final Thoughts

Be flexible. Be patient. Be open to hearing feedback. Keep trying. And have fun!

Categories
Boom Years

Otto Mears: Pathfinder of the San Juans

When: 1840 – 1931

Where: Born in Russia and came to America at the age of 11.

Why Important: Built 450 miles of toll roads that later became most of the modern roads in southwestern Colorado.  He also built three railroads in the San Juan Mountains that helped develop the area’s mining wealth.

Biography

Otto Mears was born in Estonia, which was part of Russia in 1840.  He was orphaned at an early age and was eventually sent to live with relatives in San Francisco, California when he was 11. Mears worked very hard from the time he arrived in America until he joined the California Volunteer infantry during the Civil War. In 1864, Mears travelled to Santa Fe for a short time before moving to the Saguache, CO where he opened a general store and married Mary Kampfshulte in 1870. That business eventually grew to include hardware stores in several towns in southwestern Colorado.

Travel in Colorado was still very difficult at that time and Mears needed to find ways to move his goods around the region, so in 1870 he began building toll roads with the Poncha Pass Wagon Road.  He went on to build more than a dozen toll roads covering more than 450 miles.  Among these was the famous Million Dollar Highway between Ouray and Silverton, and by 1883 no one could get in or out of the City of Ouray without traveling over a Mears toll road.

In 1887 Mears built the Silverton Railroad to tap the silver mines on Red Mountain Pass between Silverton and Ouray. Because he was responsible for the railroad, Mears was able to issue passes to his friends, family, and colleagues for unlimited travel on his rail lines. He printed these special passes first on paper, then on leather, and eventually created them out of engraved silver and gold. Today, these passes are very rare and valuable. Mears later built four more railroads, including the famed the Rio Grande Southern Railroad from Ridgway and Durango.

Mears wasn’t just a successful businessman. He was also very active in politics and involved in many of the treaty negotiations between the Ute Indians and the US Government. He spoke the Ute language and was a friend of Chief Ouray. Mears was also chosen as one of Colorado’s three presidential electors in 1876 and was elected to the Colorado Legislature in the 1880’s. Despite Mears’ many successes in Colorado however, the Silver Panic of 1893 hit his businesses hard, causing him to lose control of many of his Colorado enterprises.  In 1896 he moved to the east coast where he built the Chesapeake Bay Railroad, served as President of the Mack Truck Company, and built a railroad in Louisiana.

Mears returned to Colorado in 1906 and purchased a house in Silverton.  He continued to invest in mining activities and regained much of the fortune he had lost in the 1890s.  Otto retired to Pasadena, California in 1920 where he and Mary lived in the Maryland Hotel until Mary died in 1924 and Otto on June 24, 1931.

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Resource Sharing

Serving the Underserved

Mallory Pillard, Director of the Carnegie Public Library in Trinidad, received a National Library of Medicine scholarship through the Colorado State Library and the Colorado Library Consortium to attend the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL). She also presented at ARSL on Serving the Underserved.

I came back from ARSL to learn about the suicide of one of our patrons experiencing homelessness. I spent part of the first days back trying to avoid crying. D’andre was 21, and spent most days at the library with his girlfriend. He liked to listen to hip hop, watch movies. I would boil water for them to eat oatmeal or mac and cheese. We were attempting to get D’andre a copy of his birth certificates so that they could get their IDs, find a job, and I would say that as patrons go, we knew him pretty well. At my presentation, I mentioned the importance of learning someone’s name– for many months, D’andre assumed that he wasn’t entitled to a library card, and when we created him an account, he finally told me his real name. Perhaps the trauma of jail, homelessness, potential relationship problems, and having your humanity taken from you makes you keep personal belongings, even your name, close to heart. After his death, it was impressed upon me anew how important Mental Health First Aid has been for me and my team. Please look into this for yourself and those around you. Not only am I grieving, but my library team is grieving as well. The day before his death, D’andre came looking for me at the library– I take some comfort in knowing that I gave him a hug and I am grateful for the trust that he placed in me, and the library.

We grieve, but we move on. The next day we were in front of City Council to present the results of our survey, attached. The City Council meeting didn’t go as well as expected. The people who drove 3 hours to present were disappointed that Council didn’t seem to place any value on the data. It got dismissed in about a half hour– we didn’t get a chance to tell a story, it just looked like numbers on a screen. My reaction was to send an e-mail to my boss which detailed that we missed an opportunity– there is no next time for the experts to present the survey, our contract is over. There is no next time for D’andre. In the article about his death, the reporter mentions “last known address…” Do we want to be a community that places value on “last known address? or last known community, friends, and experience?” I quizzed my boss.

So, we create more opportunities. There is positive energy that resulted from a somewhat negative City Council Meeting:

1) I think this experience spurred the City Manager to draft a resolution to Council, see the attached. We don’t need City Council’s approval, or a vote to accomplish a Permanent Supportive Housing Project. So, we’ve changed our path slightly and we’re looking toward other places for support.
2) I met a concerned citizen who is going to join our advocacy committee. I also connected with someone starting a Human Services track at the college, as well as a representative from the health department. I’m leaning on the expertise and support of everyone around me.
3) I’m working with a journalist with a couple of our local papers to write a better story on key data points.

We were presented with a little barrier but we’re doing what we can with what we have to work around it. If you’d like to discuss the challenges in your community, Permanent Supportive Housing, homelessness, etc, feel free to give me a call or comment on this post. I’d be happy to talk more!

Thank you all for everything you do for your libraries, and communities.

Respectfully,
Mallory Pillard, Library Director
carnegiepubliclibrary.org

Related Documents –
Permanent Supportive Housing – Q & A


PSH Resolution


Trinidad Final Report

Categories
CSL News

Locals Receive Diploma Thanks to Free Library Program

This is a guest post by Kayah Swanson, Public Relations Specialist at Pikes Peak Library District.

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Ana Bojorquez was beginning to think she’d never earn a high school diploma, no matter what she did. She bought preparation books, enrolled in classes and more, but nothing panned out.

“I’ve been trying to get my diploma for years, ever since I was forced to leave high school,” Bojorquez said. “I was trying everything to do it on my own.”

But then Bojorquez noticed an advertisement for a free program through Pikes Peak Library District in El Paso County that helps participants earn accredited high school diplomas online.

“The fact that it was free, that it was online, those were a big deal for me,” she said. “The GED class schedules just didn’t work for me.”

Bojorquez was brought to the United States from El Salvador as a very small child, and then adopted. Her adoptive mother, for reasons unknown, changed Bojorquez’s age on a lot of her documents and in the school system.

“They weren’t a very good family, so I ended up back in the foster system,” Bojorquez said.

After being placed in foster care and re-enrolled into the school system, the school district made a startling discovery.

“The school saw my birth certificate, and they said, ‘Why are you in the 9th grade when you are 17 years old?’”

The district took her out of high school, even though she begged to stay. Bojorquez was enrolled in a GED class at a community college instead.

At the same time, her social workers knew that her eighteenth birthday was approaching; Bojorquez would no longer be eligible for support from the foster care system and needed a job to survive.

“They did provide me with transitional housing at the time, but I had no food, so I had to work. I just did not have time to finish high school.”

After experiencing success as a realtor’s assistant, the thought of a high school diploma faded from her mind, until she met her future husband who was determined to support her in achieving her diploma dreams. He finally convinced her to focus on studying for a diploma full-time.

“For a long time, I said no when he told me to leave my job,” Bojorquez said. “I was so used to taking care of myself. Finally I gave into it, and I quit my job. Within a week of me finally deciding to leave my job, he got fired.”

The couple relocated from California to Colorado Springs in search of work, had children, and once again her hopes for a diploma were dashed.

That’s when she saw the advertisement on PPLD’s website for Career Online High School. For Bojorquez, who does custodial work for her church and volunteers at the school her two boys attend, an online program without a huge financial burden was an enticing option.

Ana Bojorquez with her new high school diploma.

She applied in March of 2017, and began to work tirelessly toward the goal she’d had for more than a decade. Less than two years later, Bojorquez is celebrating a huge educational milestone: she has completed the Career Online High School program, and was the proud recipient of an accredited high school diploma at a graduation celebration on Oct. 10 at East Library in Colorado Springs.

“I feel like I can accomplish anything,” Bojorquez said. “I feel really empowered.”

Ana Bojorquez is not the only one feeling empowered as a new recipient of a high school diploma. Five El Paso County residents celebrated newly received diplomas at the library’s graduation event.

“Stories like Ana’s are the reason why we want to provide this kind of program to our community,” said Lacey Miller, Adult Education Supervisor at PPLD. “We are here to provide people with the resources they need to achieve their goals, whatever those goals may be. Career Online High School meets people where they are, acknowledges and capitalizes on their life experience, and helps them to achieve a major educational milestone.”

The program costs about $2,000 per participant, but it is entirely free to the student. The Pikes Peak Library District Foundation provides scholarships to all those who qualify for participation.

Community members must first apply, complete a self-assessment online, and then come for an interview and placement test. After that, participants are in a 30-day probationary period while beginning their coursework to ensure that they are committed to completing the program.

Then, the PPLD Foundation commits to paying for that participant until they reach the finish line, along with help from a federal grant. Students have a maximum of eighteen months to finish the coursework.

“We work with students throughout their coursework, and every participant has a Career Online High School academic coach assigned to them to help motivate them through the program,” Miller said.

Beau Buren earned his Career Online High School diploma in less than 8 months.

One of the other graduates of the program is hoping his new diploma will help him excel at a higher level in his career. Beau Buren, a Colorado Springs native, finished the program in less than eight months. He set aside time after almost every full day of work, and did nearly six hours of coursework per day on the weekends.

“I feel good about finishing,” Buren said. “I’m really proud of how hard I worked at this.”

Both Bojorquez and Buren have their sights set on potential college careers now that they’ve received their diplomas. Bojorquez is hoping to achieve a college degree in psychology, to carry forward her desire to help others. Buren is hoping to bask in the glow of his achievement until the end of the year, then reassess his goals and consider going back to school for a business management degree.

“The library was definitely there to help me,” Buren said. “Lacey was really great. I really appreciated the tuition help, too, because otherwise I may not have been able to do the program at all.”

Before starting a college degree, Bojorquez plans to apply at her children’s school for a part-time position.

Ana Bojorquez received her Career Online High School diploma in a ceremony held at Pikes Peak Library District on Wednesday, October 10, 2018.

“I think this has shown them the value of perseverance,” Bojorquez said. “I had a study schedule, they would do learning time while I did learning time, but there were days where it was hard. They told me they couldn’t believe how quickly I did this.”

Now that the finish line has been reached, she’s certainly enjoying having more time to explore beautiful Colorado with her family. Most of all, she’s thankful to have finally achieved something she’s been working toward for years.

“I am very grateful to Pikes Peak Library District,” Bojorquez said. “I wouldn’t have graduated high school, something I’ve wanted to do for years now, without the library’s help.”

Categories
Website Creation & Hosting

Essential Website UX to Improve Relevance, Value and Accessibility

This is a guest post by Tiffany Clendenin, Operations Manager at Broomfield Library.

On a recent UX panel at CALCON, I presented on website content changes that can help support our public library obligation to offer service to all patrons in a user-centered and responsive way. The following details a few aspects that can be easily adopted to create a scalable UX practice.

As a UX team of one, I took the approach of putting together a content engagement analysis of our website and used web analytics tools to determine behavior flow, time spent and bounce rate of users on our pages. This collected data gave me a snapshot as to whether or not our content was locatable and understood in any given time period. Looking only at our core user actions, I was able to determine that we needed to improve the clarity and findability of our content to better prove its value to users in the short amount of time they are on the page. You might have heard of the the 59 second rule, the average amount of time a user will remain on a web page before clicking away, but UX research actually show it’s even less than that: 10-20 seconds! That is a short amount of time to convey the value of the content and connect the user with their intended goal.

With the user in mind I developed a content strategy that I would use to reshape our content and to articulate the components of good usability that will help us to meet user expectations. Two elements of content strategy (as outlined by Kristina Halvorson in her book Content Strategy for the Web) that became a focus for me were substance and structure. With a focus on just these two elements, I found several areas needing improvement:

  • Substance (topics, tone, style, what message we need to communicate). Issues were:
    • Excessive information – too much to read on any one page
    • Page load times – too many images
  • Structure (how we prioritize and break up the content into building blocks). Issues were:
    • Navigation too complex
    • Not highlighting main actions we want visitors to see

Creating a logical flow with the fewest amount of clicks

The next step was to minimize/refine/prioritize the content and then map it to ensure it has a logical flow with the fewest amount of clicks. Mapping the content to improve the navigation was a quick and easy process of the most logical choices based on the whole, as opposed to a labyrinth of choices added over the years. Refining the wording and amount of description on our pages was mildly challenging but also allowed for the most dynamic changes in the page appeal. Having images is important (70{66eaadba41c14e7e553ffe7a4ee73fbae213b19704eda0514b3dd79e37e4c0c5} visual – 30{66eaadba41c14e7e553ffe7a4ee73fbae213b19704eda0514b3dd79e37e4c0c5} content) but having too many is also chaotic to the flow of the page. In places where I needed to remove images but still had text content, I focused on having a good text hierarchy to ensure that it is clean and easy to read.

Peter Morville’s User Experience Honeycomb, from “User Experience Design,” Semantic Studios (2004).

These targeted changes improved the clarity and findability of our web content in an immediate and visible way (the usage data has shown). UX pioneer Peter Morville established the seven facets of user experience which are a great guide when considering page content. Is it Usable, Useful, Desirable, Findable, Accessible and Credible? I found that these small changes were impactful to move our content more in the direction of this goal.

Equally important as the substance and structure, were the accessibility challenges in our content that would prevent access and understanding for certain users. Web standards for accessibility such as having alt text for images and descriptive text for links were common mistakes in our content (and easy to fix). Empathy building is an important concept in UX and there are web tools to simulate issues such as color blindness or tools for highlighting issues in our HTML code that would present a problem for screen readers.

The process described above took about 6 months to complete but the strategy is now a continuous process applied not only to the library’s website content, but also to other digital services and access points. Perhaps most importantly, this assessment helped to create a culture of usability in the library where we are not just pushing out information to users but instead trying to understand our users’ needs and behaviors so that their interaction with the content is a useful, and therefore a worthwhile experience.

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