Dee’s Favorites (Part 1 of 3): UX & Usability

Dee’s Favorites (Part 1 of 3): UX & Usability

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I had a baby in October and as expected, I’m on a different, much busier schedule these days!  The day before my little one was born, I presented at my state library association’s conference for the first time.  It was a fun experience, and I hope I get to do it again (though maybe in a bit more comfortable circumstances).  The theme of our conference was “Tell Your Story.”  I chose to talk about some of my favorite online tools to make telling your story easy and effective.  Some have been mentioned on the blog before.  However, I thought it might be nice to share my thoughts and some of my favorite online tools that I find myself coming back to over and over, as well as a few that are just neat and worth mentioning.

The tools mentioned here are some you can use in your own libraries to help market the library and its services to your patrons, regardless of library type.  All of the tools and websites listed have free options, though some may have additional perks if you want to purchase packages.  I will say, I have not purchased a single upgrade, and they have all met the needs of my university library well.  I am not an expert at using any of these, but I’d love to hear some feedback from readers on how any of you are currently using or plan to use these tools.

I’ve broken the tools down into three broad categories: usability and user experience, very basic graphic design, and things to make your patrons’ lives and your jobs easier.  Some tools will work for multiple categories.  I’m going to cover these tools in three posts to break it up a bit, so for now let’s jump into user experience and usability.
Continue reading “Dee’s Favorites (Part 1 of 3): UX & Usability”

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WAVE Web Accessibility Tool

WAVE Web Accessibility Tool

Whether or not your organization is bound by Section 508 and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 to meet accessibility standards, can we all just agree that making your library’s online content accessible to EVERYONE is the right thing to do?  Good.  Now that we’re on the same page, use WAVE to evaluate the accessibility of your website.  All you do is enter a URL and WAVE embeds various icons at potential problem areas throughout the page.  It’s not important to know what they all mean because you can click on each for more information and tips for improvement.

*No accessibility tool can replace a real human being, but WAVE is a great place to start.

-Dee

BeeLine Reader

BeeLine Reader

Beeline Reader aims to make reading on the web faster and easier.  It uses gradient color options to keep lines of text from running together.  Ads are also removed for a more streamlined view.  In addition to boosting efficiency, the tool can be helpful for those with visual impairments, dyslexia, and ADD.  There are a few options for using the tool: a browser plugin, a mobile app, a PDF reader option, and the “Pasteboard” option to BeeLine (used as a verb here) any text you can copy and paste.  You can even BeeLine eBooks on your Kindle.  It’s not for everyone, so take the BeeLine Reading Challenge to see if this is a useful tool for you.

-Dee