Nothing is purely additive unless everyone uses it: If there’s an affordance to use a feature, the affordance is a distraction to everyone, while the positive value accrues only to the users and potential users. The net value of a feature is the value to the users of the feature, divided by the distraction of the affordance to everyone. Advanced search ends up being used by such a tiny fraction of users (sub 1%), that it can’t possibly pay for its cost. And yes, obviously we have thought of burying the affordance for people who don’t use it.
I’m not posting this to badmouth advanced search. I’m more interested the larger lesson.
The formula of
Net Value = Value / Distraction is extremely useful, and we can use it to think not just about our library websites, but to our entire organizations.
What library services and programs offer the most value and least amount of distraction? What distractions can you eliminate to increase the overall value of your library?