Walking Paper

A library design consultancy and blog by Aaron Schmidt

Category / Usability

23 Apr 13

The Usable Library

Have you seen The Usable Library? I gave it a refresh last week. All sorts of straight talk about library usability, and a redesigned postcard that you can print and hang up!

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24 Nov 12

Libraries, Typography and Reader Mood

Getting libraries to take typography seriously is a bit of a hard sell. I certainly understand that there are bigger picture issues for us to think about. And I get that fretting over the shapes of letters can seem a bit precious. But the typography we use affects how our members perceive us. So it …

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11 Nov 12

Why Doesn’t Netflix Offer Advanced Search on Their Site?

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 …

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18 Oct 12

Starting with Simplicity

There are lots of ways to make life easier for the members of your library, but the simplest might be to step back and rethink your website. In “The Benefits of Less,” I advocated for reducing the size of library websites. Doing so makes them easier for libraries to manage and, more important, easier for library …

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22 May 12

Pirate University

A similar service is available between libraries as “Interlibrary loan” or ILL-service. However, these schemes are slow and expensive. The Pirate University is ILL organized by library users and fulfilled via the web. Request an article to which you don’t have access and someone with access might just upload it for you. It is a …

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26 Mar 12

Toward Catalog Reform – 1939

Libraries have a history of thinking about usability and user experience: In recent years little discussion pertaining to the form of the library’s catalog has found its way into print. The dictionary catalog, this strange creature of modern library economy, has become so firmly established in modern library practice, that is is accepted without question …

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8 Mar 12

Library Terms That Users Understand Archived

John Kupersmith writes: The “Library Terms That Users Understand” website, sometimes mentioned in these discussions, is now 10 years old. While it’s still relevant and useful, I believe it has pretty much made its point. So, I’ve updated the resource list and condensed the site into a single page. It’s still available, but won’t be …

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30 Nov 11

Students Don’t Know How to Use QR Codes

A damming critique of QR codes for marketing. In the midst of the growing industry pressure to force-feed these barcodes into the marketplace, we noticed a profound indifference being shown to QR codes by the one demographic that can make or break a trend — college students. Unless QR codes become easier, more nimble, and …

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