Would You Be Interested in a Website that Manages All of Your Homeownership Needs?

We are undoubtedly living in a very technology-dependent era, allowing everything from health monitors on our wrists to apps on our phones assist us in the routine care and management of our lives. It seems only natural that someone would develop a website that assists us in managing all of the tasks associated with homeownership.

A new California-based startup has developed a site that allows homeowners to manage everything from scheduling maintenance to adding up the value of property within the home for insurance purposes. Users are able to create comprehensive profiles complete with pictures of their homes and individual rooms to assist them with planning for projects or filing insurance claims.

This also assists homeowners with relaying detailed and current information about their homes to Boston real estate agents when the time comes to sell. For example, if a homeowner has had major work done (such as a roof replaced) or purchased new appliances for the kitchen, all of that information will be easily accessible and organized in one place.

Additionally, if someone purchases a home with stored information on this site, the seller can transfer this information to the buyer so that they can maintain and update the existing profile for that property moving forward.

What do you think? Is this the type of website you feel you could personally make good use of?

7 Essential Elements to an Awesome Library Website

This presentation is really wonderful and David does fantastic job on describing key concepts on designing a successful library website. David describes the 7 essential elements to a library website design, and they aren’t what you think! Leave with ideas to improve your library’s website!

Public Library Mobile Web Design- Tips, Tricks & Resources

A really great presentation if you plan on going mobile with your library website. This presentation will walk you through some things to consider when thinking about the functionality and content of your library’s mobile presence, and point to useful tools for building your mobile website. Rachel has done a really great job detailing all the specifics of mobile development.

Public Library Website Guidelines

Websites are the electronic front door to your library; as such they deserve the same planning and care that your library receives. Websites are a form of marketing and a way of reaching otherwise unserved customers. A library website can be a vital information resource for your community; capitalize on the opportunity. Bear in mind that a web page is not a website. Displaying the depth of information and resources available at the library requires more than a single page.

The Office of Library and Information Services Local Library Development Team and Web Publishing Team have developed the following basic guidelines for the content and design of public library websites. These guidelines are designed to support libraries in designing are great website. These refer directly to information and resources that should be available through a library’s website.

Library Home Page

Essential Information

  • Library name, location and phone
  • Library hours
  • Link to branch information
  • Link to catalog
  • Links to services, programs, calendar, and about the library
  • Link to site map

Additional Information

  • News and events
  • Link to “support the library”, Friends group, or a way to get involved as a library supporter

About the Library

Essential Information

  • Contact information: name, address, phone number, fax number of the library
  • Branch locations (if any) and contact information for the branches
  • Library hours
  • Key personnel and contact numbers and/or e-mail addresses
  • Directions to the library
  • Board of Trustees members
  • Board of Trustees meeting dates/agenda
  • Friends group officers, activities, and membership application
  • Library mission statement
  • Library policies (especially for library cards, loan periods, use of the meeting room, computer use, unattended children)
  • Contact Us link and/or virtual suggestion box

Additional Information

  • Annual report
  • Long-range plan
  • History of the library
  • Library newsletter (if any)
  • Trustee by-laws
  • Trustee meeting minutes
  • Volunteer information
  • Images of the library

 

Programs and Services

Essential Information

  • Children’s services
  • YA/Teen services
  • Literacy services and programs
  • Disability services
  • Classes/workshops (if offered)
  • Museum and park passes
  • Calendar of events

Additional Information

  • New books listing
  • Staff recommendations listing
  • Parents section
  • Teachers section
  • Seniors section

Reference and Research Information

Essential Information

  • Link to library catalog
  • Link to OSL home page
  • Electronic resources
  • Reference links
  • Virtual reference services (email/IM)
  • Special collections

Additional Information

  • Search engines and directories
  • Local history page
  • Genealogy page
  • Connections to other libraries
  • Statewide Reference Resource Center
  • Instant Answers
  • Ask a Librarian

 

Design Guidelines

  • Design by the 10 second rule: a visitor should be able to find a link to your catalog, your locations, your programs, your resources, or your key personnel in less than 10 seconds from any page on your site
  • Include the library name on every page (the name should be prominently displayed as a header and included in the <title> tag on the page)
  • Include library address, phone, and “contact us” link on every page (possibly as footer if not in header)
  • Provide clear and consistent navigation throughout the site; include a link to the library homepage on every page
  • Include a site map, and provide a link to it on every page
  • Avoid library jargon, e.g., provide a link to the library catalog
  • Make sure pages load quickly — limit the use of images and text graphics; compress file sizes for all images
  • Avoid flashing objects and multi-colored text that distract a visitor’s attention
  • Avoid pages longer than 2 screens; users will not scroll down to find information
  • Make sure the page is accessible to users with disabilities
  • Libraries meet ADA requirements; websites should have a comparable level of accessibility as specified in the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and Federal Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology
  • Check your pages in multiple browsers to be sure they render correctly, e.g., Internet Explorer, Netscape (Mozilla), Firefox, Opera, even on a Mac (Safari)
  • Librarians are experts at organizing information; library websites should reflect this!

Website Design Resources For Public Libraries

Web Design Guidelines & Ideas

Creating a Web Page

Example Webites

Best Practices for Public Library Website Design

You are a librarian, not a web developer, but you can have a library website that fulfills the needs of patrons and library staff. If you keep it things simple and don’t take on more than you can administer, and concentrate on what you know and do well it will be a piece of cake.

Building a great and user friendly website for a public library, you need to look at it from two perspectives. First, you will need to look at it from a librarian’s point of view.

What will your patrons need, and how can you best service their needs? This is the easy part as it comes with the profession. So coming up with that info should be a fairly easy task.

Second, you need to look at it like web designer as someone who has an eyed for design and knows what the users looks for in a website. Since most librarians are not trained as a web designer, that could be a daunting task and be a complete waste of time.

Gallery of great public library websites:

Best thing is to focus on what you know and what you do best, and spend as little time on what you don’t know as possible. Since you are trained and experienced in managing a library, that’s where you should be focusing your professional energy.

Think of your website as an extension of your technology or media center — you weren’t the one who build that yourself, right? Of course not, because you’re not a constriction worker! The same goes for a website.

What few librarians understand is that building a great, usable, easy to use, accessible, attractive public library website that meets the needs of patrons and staff is every bit as difficult and as complicated as designing a good building that meets the needs of everyone. If people built buildings the way they build websites, there would be too many rooms with no doors, rooms that no one would use, and hallways that didn’t lead anywhere; you wouldn’t be able to tell what a room was for or even whether the door opened to the inside or the outside of the building until you opened it; and the roof would leak every time it rained!

The good news is, you can hire a web design professional to build and maintain your website and do it right the first time.

They key is that you don’t need a complicated website because public libraries are mostly informational so something very simple will probably meet your needs. Most libraries use Dreamweaver to edit their websites but the use of content management systems has made it so easy that you don’t have to do the technical work yourself, but rather mange all content online and is as easy as using Microsoft word.

If you have any questions about designing a library website feel free to contact us.

Employing ecommerce strategy

Employing a online strategy to sell directly to consumers and to compete directly with traditional wholesalers and retailers.

Software developers have used the internet as a highly effective distribution channel to complement sales through wholesalers and retailers. Selling online directly to end users has the advantage of cutting out the costs and margins of software wholesalers and retailers as much as 30-50% of the retail price. In addition, allowing customers to download their software purchases immediately via the internet eliminates the costs of producing and packaging CDs. However, software developers are still strongly motivated to continue to distribute their products through wholesalers and retailers to maintain broad access to existing and potential users who, for whatever reason, may be reluctant to buy online. Despite the channel conflict, there are two major reasons why manufactures might want to aggressively pursue online sales and establish the internet as an important distribution channel alongside traditional channels:

1.they make a far bigger profit margin from online sales

2.it helps educate buyers to the ease and convenience of purchasing online, thus encouraging more and more buyers to migrate to buying online where company profit marking are greater

This sell direct positioning strategy is well suited for companies in industries where there are good long-term prospects for the internet to evolve into a company’s primary distribution channel. In such instances, incurring the channel conflict in the short term and competing against traditional distribution allies makes good strategic sense.