Info Design for the New Web

A topic close to my design-fetishist heart...
Columbia University librarian & consultant Ellyssa Kroski talked about web design trends that libraries should be paying attention to. She showed many examples of websites, color schemes, logos, fonts, and discussed what it is about the “new web” that make it so appealing. As an example, Google is indicative of what’s going on in design today—simple search interface, uncluttered screen, centered orientation. Ellyssa discussed three major elements of the new web:

SIMPLICITY of web applications and of design/style

  • Choice can frustrate; focused approach is better, leave off certain functions to make it easier for users
  • Even though there is not a lot of text to explain what you’re supposed to do, it’s more intuitive and easy for even new internet users to figure out
SOCIAL for social’s sake
  • Collaborative applications with allow interaction with information
  • Commenting, rating, sending things to our friends, keeping track of things we like are often built into these sites. User profile is often the primary component and is customized to reflect user’s personality
  • Visual representations of what is important; tag cloud is best example; also things sorted by “most searched” or “top” searches
  • Widgets and mashups which allow web designers to remix data to create new forms of navigation

Taking these principles of design for the new web, what can libraries do to make their web presences dynamic? It’s important to include only necessary functionality with a clean, efficient design; meet users’ expectations of the web by enabling connections and participation; offer alternative ways to navigate a website, customizable by user’s preference. And most importantly, remember that everything is “in perpetual beta” and we should be prepared to get rid of things that aren’t working.

No comments: