For Sale: Library Logo/Barcode iPhone Cases


Put your library’s logo and patron barcodes on iPhone 5/s cases. Great summer reading prize giveaways and Friends’ fundraising items.

More info on Influx’s site

Random background info

This idea is a response to the type of library-chic fetishization that Jessamyn wrote about so well here. Don’t get me wrong, I like geeky library pride stuff as much as the next librarian. But I figured: why not making something in the same vein that promotes actual libraries and encourages library use?

Influx Library User Experience Newsletter

Sign up now and get in on the ground floor! Newsletter 001 is about to make its way into inboxes, and there’s a little reward for everyone signed up before it is sent.

What to expect from this newsletter

We will send you UX related links that we find interesting. Maybe a little bit of original content will sneak in on occasion. Whatever the case, we’re aiming quality over quantity. (Yes, just like we advocate for libraries – not only only their websites but also programs and services too). This is an experiment and we’ll adjust it as we go along.

Putting it together felt different than preparing content for this site, so it’ll be different but I can’t quite put my finger on how it will be different. If you like this site, you’ll like the newsletter. Or your money back!

Whatever the case, it will be 100% non-spammy and we’ll give it our 100% to make it interesting and informative!

You should sign up now.

Introducing Prefab: the Library Website Service

I’m super excited to announce a new project from Influx:
Prefab: the library website service.

Prefab is a ready to launch website designed for libraries. We’ve designed an amazing library website so you can concentrate on developing awesome content.


How it works

Sign up, fill in your content, launch. All in the same day, if you’re motivated!

Prefab is designed for libraries:

  • Easy catalog search integration
  • Simple item promotion
  • Events advertising space
  • Responsive design – looks great on all devices
  • Powered by WordPress
  • Easy links to social media profiles

What you get with Prefab:

  • Hosting
  • A back end training session
  • Email and phone support
  • Information Architecture and navigation suggestions
  • Help arranging your domain


Stop the madness

Libraries across the country are all working – with limited resources and skills – to solve the same, basic library website design problems. It makes no sense! So we did the design work and created a template that’s appropriate for many different libraries.

There’s a lot more information at the Prefab page on Influx’s site.

Many thanks to Running in the Halls for their assistance with the theme development.

Need an amazing library website fast? Check out Prefab now.

rainbow copy

One-Pager 2.0

About a year ago my partners at Influx and I released One-Pager, a free template for library websites.

We’ve updated it and it is better than ever. In fact, good implementations of One-Pager will be better than most library websites.

With this update the code is cleaner and more efficient, and we’ve added some responsive elements so that it formats well on any browser. Check out what happens on a mobile device. The image disappears and the menu adapts so that the most important tasks can be taken care of easily.

One-Pager is intentionally different than most library websites. Try out the demo and read more about the ideas behind One-Pager on Influx’s site.

Less Talking, More Doing: the User Research Jumpstart

Doing even a little bit of user research is more valuable than just talking about it. Don’t get me wrong; talking about research methods and user experience and design is fun and has its place. But actually doing even a bit of research often helps demonstrate the importance of thinking about our users.

Over at Influx we’ve been integrating actually doing something into our presentions. Even a simple 30 minute library patron observation exercise puts theory into practice and makes a presentation about UX much more valuable.

Building upon these observations we have a new get-your-hands-dirty package called the User Research Jumpstart. I’m really excited about it. The service is an effort to get libraries – in addition to learning by talking – learning by doing.

An added benefit of the User Research Jumpstart is that after it’s done libraries have some real user research that they can use to make improvements.

Here’s more about the User Research Jumpstart.

Introducing One-Pager

What is One-Pager?
Influx and Walking Paper are proud to present One-Pager: a library website template that allows your patrons to find what they want.  

Drawing on our experience with libraries and library websites of all types we distilled our knowledge into a website interface that is good for libraries and good for library users.  

We love libraries.  In our work, we’ve watched users struggle, we’ve learned from mistakes, and we’ve applied what we know to this template. Every library and every set of users is unique, but we can confidently say that One-Pager is founded on the common ground that libraries and library users share.

Whether your patrons are 8 years old or, 85 years old, viewing the website on a phone, tablet, or a PC, One-Pager offers one consistent, usable interface for giving them library information they need.

What ideas informed the development of One-Pager?

  • Designing for Mobile First
    Patrons access library websites on a variety of devices. Not only did we want One-Pager to render well on all of these devices, we knew thinking of mobile sites first would force us to include only what’s important.
  • Saving the Time of the Reader
    People want to quickly grab needed info and move on. Very few libraries have the organizational bandwidth to create excellent destination sites to captivate patrons.
  • Librarians are Busy
    With budgets spread thin most libraries can’t give their websites the attention they deserve. Providing less content frees librarian to spend more time making the important material excellent.
  • Writing is Important
    If you have a website you are a publisher. You can create a great website only by taking this role seriously.
  • Clarity through Simplicity
    Simplicity isn’t decoration. It is the result of a design process meant to create usable products
  • .

Isn’t the One-Pager demo site quite small?
Yes, purposefully so. Many library websites are filled with information that users don’t care about, largely because library website development is stuck in a rut. It is focused on solving problems in one way: the additive way.  

Smaller sites are easier to maintain and allow patrons to find what they want faster. You might think that there is a lot of essential content on your library’s website. A proper One-Pager implementation process will expose the parts that are extraneous and make maintaining and using your website easier.

One-Pager isn’t interactive. Why not?
While we value two-way communication with patrons, we value usable library websites more. Patrons are better served by being able to easily find what they want than by being able to leave a comment. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, however, and One-Pager is a solid foundation from which to grow.  

We are happy to develop One-Pager as a Drupal, WordPress, or Joomla theme specifically tailored to your library’s needs so your patrons can comment as much as they would like.

I’m interested. What should I do next?
Well, next you should take a good hard look at your library website and go for a quiet walk around the block.

Download One-Pager’s code. Tinker with it. Then, shoehorn your current site’s content into the framework and see what works and what doesn’t. Test it with a few people.

Finally, when you are ready to make the principles behind One-Pager really work for you, we invite you to work with us to turn your library website into a lean, efficient, content delivery machine.

Will One-Pager automatically solve all of our website problems?
No. A good website doesn’t arrive swaddled in blankets, delivered by stork. Effectively using One-Pager will require user research, content strategy, writing skills and good design intuition.

What if my library doesn’t know how to do this stuff?
We can help guide you through a user-centered design process that makes sense for your library. We can help you determine critical tasks, assess library needs, rewrite content, help with usability testing and more.

Contact us at [email protected] with any questions.

-Aaron Schmidt, Amanda Etches-Johnson & Nate Hill

Typekit Launches for All

Attention font nerds.

Typekit has gone from invite only to open registration.

What is Typekit? Think of it as YouTube for fonts. With it you can consistently display non-standard fonts on websites. Previous solutions haven’t been as easy to use, nor have they been as respectful of type foundries’ rights. Despite a (currently) somewhat limited amount of fonts from which to choose, Typekit is win-win.

Take a look at “Attention font nerds” above. It isn’t an image. You can copy the characters. They’ll be indexed by search engines and be read by screen readers.

A word of caution

Typekit might let us express ourselves more effectively on the web but it could also lead to some ransom note looking pages. Please be responsible with Typekit. When in doubt, limit your font use to one serif and one sans-serif per page. Use size, color and weight for emphasis.

And never stretch type!