A library design consultancy and blog by Aaron Schmidt
I want to see the plain search results.
Ha! You read my mind. That’s up next.
Very nice, thought experiment indeed.
The primary way that people use the library is to use materials and your design speaks to doing only this. But what about your earlier statements that libraries will focus on experience, not about content? What you have made is a portal to content. What minimalist design could acknowledge today’s behaviors and encourage tomorrow’s?
I also think it is important for a library to be welcoming. The rounded corners take some of that edge off (blue and black!), but the empty space makes the whole place seem vacant. This library is a cold, impartial vehicle for free stuff – a critique of public libraries for sure, but not what we want to be or what we want our users to understand about us.
This design feels a bit funny considering it solves a problem related to the least interesting (to me) aspect of library use. But, as you point out, getting content is the #1 reason people use the library. I haven’t explored that tension very much but aim to.
What minimalist design could acknowledge today’s behaviors and encourage tomorrow’s?
Love this question.
You’re right: libraries shouldn’t aim for the public to think of us as places for free content. But they do. And until we can convince them otherwise, we may as well make discovery easy for them.
I’d either centre or right align the search box. If I right align the search box, I’d make the My account login the main focus of the page, similar metaphor to arriving at your email inbox. If the search box is centred, I’d give the username/password boxes to allow people to immediately login. The approach you chose would be determined by the top task of your users, whether they search and then login or login and then search. I think the other main tasks have been designed into the site, location, hours, contact information.
Nice work… thanks for sharing and encouraging us to think through a stripped down site.
Mary Beth –
Great thought on exposing the search boxes. While it would make the site a bit less plain, it would be a lot more convenient for users!
Minus the styling, the concept reminds me of the new Multnomah County Library website.
Woah, good catch, Cecily.
I’m going to have to spend a little time with that site. I like the homepage structure but the visual treatment is problematic in a lot of ways.
I want to doodle in that white space with my fellow library visitors. But let me beat the audience to it: we can’t do that because penises.
Ha! Always a temptation.
Double ha. I just want to draw farm animals. I’m in the minority, temptationwise.
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