Posts tagged ‘user experience’

Merchandising: Attractiveness as a form of access

At the Mount Laurel Library, we’ve been working in a “merchandised environment” for over 2 years now.

As the Trading Spaces: Reinventing the Library Environment project demonstration site we had the opportunity to get retail fixtures such as book gondolas, CD browsers and slat wall. We’ve also had training on how to keep our library collections both accessible and attractive to customers.

It’s worked! Our circulation leapt by 39% the first year and it’s been rising ever since.

Well, learning how to merchandise is one thing.

Our staff training uses handouts, slide shows, tip sheets plus hands-on experience to show how to better merchandise our collection.

Our merchandising goal for all staff is to spend on average 5 minutes each hour keeping the displays looking full (that’s about 30+ minutes a day for our full-time staff).

Keeping it all looking good, all the time, is another matter!

Have you ever been in a store that looks “picked over”? Well, it’s the same in a library if you don’t keep up on merchandising the collection.

Success means more circulation and that means we’re constantly filling in gondolas, flipping books cover out, and adding onto slat wall displays. In practice though, it’s hard to keep everyone focused on why it’s important and incorporate it into our daily routine.

To keep our eyes looking at the library from a customer point-of-view, we’ve just started is a twice weekly Walk-About. It’s a way for staff, individually or in a small groupers, to walk through the library and note:

  • what looks good (to celebrate success)
  • what area needs immediate attention (today, let’s do it now–together)
  • what area needs work next

All of our staff share this task through a weekly rotation among our departments. We’ve also created Walk-About sheets to help staff keep track and make it easier to report back at our morning briefings (a quick heads-up meeting before the library opens).

One of the side benefits (besides improving the look of the library displays) is that it encourages everyone to get out and really see the entire library — even those areas they don’t usually work in.

The result — a better looking library and and better informed staff.

October 6, 2006 at 1:12 pm 3 comments

Dogmas Are Meant to be Broken: An Interview with Eric Reiss – Boxes and Arrows: The design behind the design

A little Friday lunchtime reading… If you like the Dogma, follow the link and read the interview with Reiss. I’m going to be re-evaluating mpow’s website with these 10 points in mind.
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From: Dogmas Are Meant to be Broken: An Interview with Eric Reiss – Boxes and Arrows: The design behind the design:

“Web Dogma ‘06″

1. Anything that exists only to satisfy the internal politics of the site owner must be eliminated.
2. Anything that exists only to satisfy the ego of the designer must be eliminated.
3. Anything that is irrelevant within the context of the page must be eliminated.
4. Any feature or technique that reduces the visitor’s ability to navigate freely must be reworked or eliminated.
5. Any interactive object that forces the visitor to guess its meaning must be reworked or eliminated.
6. No software, apart from the browser itself, must be required to get the site to work correctly.
7. Content must be readable first, printable second, downloadable third.
8. Usability must never be sacrificed for the sake of a style guide.
9. No visitor must be forced to register or surrender personal data unless the site owner is unable to provide a service or complete a transaction without it.
10. Break any of these rules sooner than do anything outright barbarous. “

June 30, 2006 at 11:13 am 5 comments


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