Wednesday, November 19, 2008

design matters

I want to echo Dan Cohen's belief that "design matters" not only in digital humanities, but also in academic library websites.

Academic libraries, even small ones, need to meet user expectations for good design in their websites and digital collections. They need to get beyond the do-it-yourself HTML mentality of the early web. The also need to do something more than tap into a parent institution's content management system if they want their website to be an optimal research gateway and marketing tool.

When possible, libraries should get staff members on board with design expertise. They should learn to how to contract out for design services when needed. When set aside the thousands of dollars that a small academic library typically spends each year on licensed e resources, a couple thousand every few years for web design of the portal to those resources provides a lot of bang for the buck.

We're working with some professional web designers on accessCeramics right now, and I'm looking forward to learning from the experience.

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