I Need To See Your ID

I got into Chicago and after a long hot cab ride, being dropped off at the wrong hotel, and having to trek 7 blocks to the right one; I finally reached my destination. Walking around Chicago has reminded me that I live in a really ugly city. I am a native Houstonian and I love my city, but it is not easy on the eyes.

I had my first Chicago style pizza last night, not Rinaldi’s, but still great. I also dropped by LITA Happy Hour and rubbed elbows with some people that I respect and look up to. Colby Riggs bequeathed me with a glowing LITA necklace, I met some other LITA bloggers, and finally met Karen Schneider. It is always fun to meet people you have only encountered online. I was struck by how friendly and fun LITA people are in general.

At the moment, I am sitting in Searching Digital Resources: Designing Usability Into Digital Interfaces with Frank Cervone, Steve DiDomenico, Jeannette Moss, Stephen Abram, and Mike Visser. So far, the Northwestern folks have been discussing the extensive usability testing they did before restructuring their site. Usability testing has always seemed like something everyone should do before embarking on a new site design, but there are obvious things that get left behind. Libraries spend a lot of time creating new websites and then forget that in five years we may have to redesign again. We can become so attached to the beautiful website we spent so much time designing, that we refuse to see its problems.

I think usability testing should be an ongoing process. We should be able to tweak and update our web presence continually, not just when it becomes a major issue. By always looking for new ways to improve our web sites, we would be better serving the needs of the people that use the site.

Frank Cervone – “People want our catalog to work like Google” – There are other tools that work better than our catalogs and they will go and use them instead of our tools because the other tools work. AMEN! There is so much animosity towards Google, *ahem* Michael Gorman *cough*, but it is not their fault that their product works. Librarians need to suck up our pride and admit that Google has a search engine that often works better and is more user friendly than our catalogs. The truth hurts, but life goes on.

–Jane, give the users what they want for Pete’s sake