actions > words

There is a fair amount of grumbling going on about the marketing of the Gap’s website redesign. signal vs noise and Power to the People take issue with this big, orange statement from the Gap website.

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The comment quoted by signal vs noise sums it up well:

They’re saying the right things, only they’ve got them backwards. “Latest technologies”, “innovative tools,” and “new features” are pretty much meaningless if the “shopping experience” isn’t better. Now, I don’t want to pick on Gap, but this illustrates (rather well) the point I’m trying to make: Put the people first, then devise simple solutions — the experience is what matters.

This sentiment is really useful not only for our library websites, but our institutions as well. This just another way to state the importance of putting our focus on our users. All of the great technology in our libraries shouldn’t exist for its own sake, but rather should exists because it helps.

However, regarding their criticism of the Gap’s placement of emphasis, I’m not convinced that we need to be telling our patrons that we’re attempting to create an experience. People don’t really want to be told that they are going to have an experience. Talk of experience in PR can smack of marketing jargon and be a major turn off. In other words, it isn’t useful for an institution to proclaim, “We’re user-centered,” or “Come here for an experiential transaction.” Customers and library patrons know full well if an institution is user-centered or if they’ve had an experiental transaction without (or in spite of) being told that they’ve had an experience.

What are we supposed to tell our patrons then? If and only if it were true, I think one great slogan for our libraries would be:

Libraries. We’re easy.

It’s short, catchy, to the point and memorable. The rest of the story would be told with our actions. We’ve got a ways to go before we can pull that one out.

One thought on “actions > words”

  1. The quote you posted is essentially what I’ve just submitted an abstract about! Getting the developers to get out from behind the technology and quit shoving it in people’s faces. Make it work well and make it easy to use. Hide the bell’s and whistle’s because 99.9% of the users DON’T CARE how something works, they just want it to work.

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