What’s your Purpose?

So one of the things we’ve been asking a lot lately is:

What is your purpose?

In asking others that, we have also been asking ourselves that. Not necessarily why are we using a tool, but for what purpose are our users supposed to be using the tool. We effectively have no policy surrounding the usage of any of our tools or any guidelines for how staff on creating content in these tools.

I have recently been asked by a number of staff members about whether our department has any guidelines on how things should look on the website, and I can’t answer anything except “no, not as far as I am aware.” It’s one thing if people refuse to use it, it’s another not to have any sort of documentation when people are looking for it. Staff members are not web designers, and may know little about designing content for the web. Most of them will do a handout version of something and simply put that online. That does not always “translate” well.

So, a recommendation for all:

  • have a document that presents guidelines on how to present content on the web
  • include a template
  • and CSS style stuff so that users don’t have to think (or can’t mess up) the little details

I’m sure those seem obviously for most people, but I am amazed sometimes at how little the first one is done.  The last one is normally implemented, but what’s a pretty page if people don’t want to read what’s on it?

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

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