2008 Online Northwest Conference — 22 Feb 2008

This was an excellent conference with a dynamic keynote speaker and very good individual sessions. A full summary of the program is available online. Take-aways (for me) from keynote and sessions I attended:

KEYNOTE Jared Spool
Why Good Content Must Suck: Designing for the Scent of Information

  • content emits scents; users follow scent of content
  • content “sucks”/”draws” the user toward it
  • scent communication through trigger words (can determine important trigger words by looking at terms used for searching in search engine logs)
  • users don’t mind “clicking” if with every click, they get closer to content (scent gets stronger)
  • when good designs work, we don’t notice them
  • things that prevent scent
    • search engines
    • information/content “below the fold” especially if there is a horizontal line suggesting bottom of screen page
    • navigation panels are “scentless”; often include jargon; often mirror admin organization or “silos”
    • short links don’t emit scent
    • 7-12 words in linkis optimal for success of user; links need trigger words
    • short pages reduce scent and horizontal rule stops scrolling
  • site map = the page where we hide all the scent
  • on A-Z list, scent arranged ‘”randomly”
  • traditional approach to design is to start with home page; should start with “content” and put links in all the places where someone might look for that “content”

Session 1 Worldcat.org: Platform for a New Kind of Library Catalog?
Amy Crawford, OCLC Western

This session would have benefited by having a “user” of worldcat.org or worldcat local.
Presenter described new model for library catalogs: synthesize => specialize => mobillize

Session 2 — Facebook 101: What Librarians Need to Know
Laurie Bridges, OSU Libraries

Great introduction to Facebook:

  • “fan pages” allow you to “push” content/announcements to your “fans”; “groups” are more static
  • users spend more time (20 min/dayis this right?) on Facebook than any other website (which avg less than 5 min/day)
  • advertising may be a cost effective way to reach students and young adults (priced per click or per “thousand views”)

Session 3 — Navigating User Understanding of the OPAC Interface: Case Study from OHSU’s Web Usability Testing
Laura Zeigen, OHSU

Laura provided some background on usability testing; results of the testing of the OPAC interface; and the changes they made at OHSU. Her powerpoint and a list of resources are available, as is this site she referred to in her presentation. It would be useful to have similar compilation for “archives” terminology.

Elizabeth Nielsen

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