Ellyssa Kroski of InfoTangle has created a great overview of current trends in website and application design in her post Information Design for the New Web. If you are going to Computers in Libraries, you can see her present the ideas she discusses in her post in a session of the same name on Monday April 16.
She highlights 3 core principles with clear explanations and great examples:
- Keep it Simple
- Make it Social
- Offer Alternate Navigation
As archives continue to dive into the deep end of the internet pool, more and more archivists will find themselves participating in discussions about website design choices. Understanding basic principals like those discussed in Kroski’s post will go a long way to making archivists feel more comfortable contributing to these sorts of discussions.
Don’t think that things like this should be left to the IT department or only the ‘techie archivists’ on your staff (if you have any). You all have a lot to contribute. You know your collections. You know the importance of archival principals of provenance, original order and context. There are lots of aspects of archival materials that traditional web designers might not consider important. Things that you know are very important if people are to understand your archives’ materials while browsing from the comfort of their homes.
So dip your toes in. Learn some buzz words, look at some fun websites and get comfortable with some innovative ideas. The water is just fine.