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CODE4LIB  September 2014

CODE4LIB September 2014

Subject:

Re: LibGuides v2 - Templates and Nav

From:

Michael Schofield <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 16 Sep 2014 23:15:09 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (170 lines)

I'm going to weigh-in a little before I leave for the day. We have made a few big templating customizations out of the box when we went live with LG2 as a transition for further customizations this fall (including replacing Bootstrap* entirely).  If anyone is on the fence about LG2, back in March I wrote a pretty glowing preview (http://ns4lib.com/libguides-is-no-joke/) - which turned out to be a taaaaad optimistic. There WERE some complications, but I think most libraries should be fine using LG2 out of the box. LG2 is leaps and bounds better than LG1.

Thoughts:

Q1. How complicated is it to change all 3 column guides to a single-column left/right-nav layout? 

A little. You can force the entire group [or all groups] to use a single template, which is a huge time saver, except your guides' middle and right columns will be in "hidden" columns rather than forced to collapse into a single column. This was pretty confusing at first. We were afraid we actually lost content during the migration. You will need to manually hit every guide and change the layout to single-column, but that's just a click of the button. If you have 400+ guides, though, that's 400+ clicks.

Q2. Three-columns or single column?
Single column. Users scan, and they scan the top and left-most portions of the screen. Anything in the middle and to the right is lost.  Also, three columns on a responsive site is a little weird, because content is pretty squishy; on tablets you might have pretty narrow left and right columns.

Q3. Left nav or right nav?
Left nav, probably. Many sites have main content on the left, which I like just fine, but if it's a question of either / or, right-column stuff is considered ancillary and users will be less likely to look at it. Which might actually be what you want out of a nav. Actually, because of that, you might want to just do right nav. LibGuides 2 is mobile first (using Bootstrap 3), so when the grid collapses the left nav appear at the top of every guide, a right nav will slide underneath.

Q4. No nav?
Okay, nobody actually brought this up, but users don’t tend to look at sidebars at all. Most libraries have a top menu in the header. If this is the case, consider dropping sidebars entirely and positioning your single column of content with equal margins. Why? Well, white-space. People like white-space. Too much stuff on the page--stuff, by the way, people won't look at anyway--increases cognitive load, which might just put your patrons in a grumpy mood when looking for simple content. Also consider that libraries--like every industry--will eventually have their mobile moment. For some of us it might be pretty far away, but eventually mobile traffic will eclipse traditional desktop traffic (charts! http://talks.ns4lib.com/patrons-on-performance/images/mobile-web-usage.png and http://talks.ns4lib.com/patrons-on-performance/images/mobilemoment.png ). 

Removing sidebar content also forces your design committee / content creators to think harder about the quality of their content and be a little bit more choosy about screen real estate.

If you're interested in trying the no-sidebar thing, you may consider customizing the template so that the "side nav" appears as good old fashioned links at the top of your content, like--well--a table of contents. This isn't the best example, but it's an idea: http://public.library.nova.edu/help/#content. 

Q5. Has anyone split the main content column into two smaller columns?
LG2 makes it crazy easy to change number and percentage-based widths of the columns. So you could still use the tabs-across-the-top template and create a little 33% wide left "sidebar" column and a 66% wide right main column.

Q6. Should I restrict all authors to XYZ template?
I think so. IMHO, consistency is key. The arguments from here were, like, that our staff wanted to be creative; but users only appreciate creative insofar as it doesn't get in the way of their content. If every guide is different, the user will have to spend extra time parsing every guide. Not fun. You can create a bunch of different groups with their own styles or whatever, but IMHO lock those groups down, so groups are at least thematically consistent.

Q7. Bootstrap?
Bootstrap! Since LG2 is Bootstrapped, libraries should bootstrap responsibly (http://acrl.ala.org/techconnect/?p=4439) - not all responsive web design is created equal.

:)

Michael
www.libux.co


-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Blake Galbreath
Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 6:37 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LibGuides v2 - Templates and Nav

I have always thought that left-nav was the UX standard for left-to-right languages (as opposed to Arabic, eg.: http://www.france24.com/ar/).

Personally, I feel that right-nav makes more sense across the board, due to the fact that it is less distance to travel for right-handed people. But the convention seems pretty set in stone. I am also not sure how screen readers deal with right-nav - although i am guessing that there is no problem there programming wise.

Blake

On Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 3:24 PM, Brad Coffield <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> Benjamin: "Unfortunately we have authors who want *three* columns plus 
> left-nav..." LOL
>
> Margaret: Love the floating nav on that page. It's exciting that we'll 
> be able to leverage Bootstrap with our guides now. Moving the entire 
> library website to libguides CMS is looking more and more promising.
>
>
> Some more thoughts:
>
> I'm no UX expert but is it generally agreed that left-nav is the much 
> better choice? It seems like it to me. Given current web wide 
> conventions etc.
>
> One big issue to switching to left-nav in v2 is the amount of work 
> it's going to take everyone to convert all guides to the new layout. 
> Which is one of those things that both shouldn't matter (when looking 
> at it in a principledness way - that is, "Whatever is best for the 
> patrons! No matter
> what!) but also does matter (in a practical way - that is, "OMG we are 
> all so busy being awesome").
>
> But part of me, when looking at other people's guides and my own, 
> wonders if three columns isn't just a little TOO much for the user. 
> How is one supposed to scan the page? What's the prioritized 
> information? For a couple years now I've been eschewing three columns 
> whenever possible. Do others agree that three columns can be info overload?
>
> Brad
>
> On Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 4:32 PM, Benjamin Florin < 
> [log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
> > We've been tinkering with our LibGuides template in preparation for 
> > an eventual redesign of our site and guides, e.g.:
> >
> >     http://libguides.bc.edu/libraries/babst/staff
> >
> > Some of our guide authors weren't happy with the LibGuides 
> > side-navigation's single-column limitation, so we made our own 
> > template, moved {{guide_nav}} off to a left column, and wrote our 
> > own styles to
> make
> > the default top-nav display as left-nav. We've found that a 50/50 or
> 75/25
> > split next to the left nav looks pretty good.
> >
> > Unfortunately we have authors who want *three* columns plus left-nav...
> >
> > In general the LibGuides templating has felt modern and easy to work
> with.
> >
> > Ben
> >
> >
> > On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 3:18 PM, Brad Coffield < 
> > [log in to unmask]>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Hi all,
> > >
> > > I'm finally diving into our Libguides v2 migration and I'm 
> > > wondering if anyone would be willing to share their 
> > > experience/choices regarding templating. (Or even some code!)
> > >
> > > I'm thinking left-nav is the way to go. Has anyone split the main
> content
> > > column into two smaller columns? Done that with a 
> > > column-width-spanning
> > box
> > > atop the main content area? Any other neato templates ideas?
> > >
> > > We are in the process of building a "style guide" for all 
> > > libguides
> > authors
> > > to use. And also some sort of peer-review process to help enforce 
> > > the
> > style
> > > guide. I'm thinking we are going to want to restrict all authors 
> > > to left-nav templates but perhaps the ideal solution would be to 
> > > require left-nav of all but to have a variety of custom left-nav 
> > > templates to choose from.
> > >
> > > Any thoughts are much appreciated!
> > >
> > > Warm regards,
> > >
> > > Brad
> > >
> > > --
> > > Brad Coffield, MLIS
> > > Assistant Information and Web Services Librarian Saint Francis 
> > > University
> > > 814-472-3315
> > > [log in to unmask]
> > >
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Brad Coffield, MLIS
> Assistant Information and Web Services Librarian Saint Francis 
> University
> 814-472-3315
> [log in to unmask]
>



--
Blake L. Galbreath
Systems Librarian
Eastern Oregon University
One University Boulevard
La Grande, OR 97850
(541) 962.3017
[log in to unmask]

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