UPDATE (March 12, 2013)
Here’s more about the launch of Prefab by Library Journal’s Matt Ennis.
Our original post along with some comments follow.
Library user experience consultancy Influx has debuted a new, ready-to-launch library website platform called “Prefab.” The platform uses WordPress-based templates featuring a straightforward, clutter-free design that is tailored to libraries.
“We basically distilled our ideas about what a library website should be and made this template,” said Aaron Schmidt, a principal of Influx, former library director, and columnist for LJ. “Librarians, independently across the country and across the world, are working on the same problem—what should my library website do, what should it be, how should it look.”
This can pose a particular challenge for small and medium-sized libraries that do not employ a full-time web specialist who could lead a custom redesign of a site, he said.
The templates employ responsive web design techniques, and will reorganize and resize content when accessed by devices with smaller screens, such as tablets or smartphones. No web-design knowledge is needed to perform basic site customization, such as adding a library’s logo, uploading content, or choosing from a palette of six basic color schemes. The “back-end” of the template is also designed to make it easy for librarians to enter in their ILS details, allowing patrons to use the site to access the library’s catalog using a simple search box.
Librarians who are more familiar with HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are free to introduce further customization, Schmidt said.
“Most of the structure is set up, but there’s certainly some customization that people can do on their own…There’s a spot for custom CSS. But generally we see the majority of libraries using Prefab not having that skill [in-house] and really, not needing to.”
For pricing and demo, see the Prefab information page.
Original infoDOCKET Post and Commentary by Gary Price
Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches the well-known and highly respected librarians and library design/usability experts whose firm Influx,offers consulting services have launched a new service for the library community.
Say hello to Prefab.
What is it?
In their words:
Prefab is a ready-to-launch website designed for libraries.
Based on years of library user research, our template gives you everything you need to create a fantastic library website.
With Prefab, you won’t even need to worry about hosting.
Said another way (our words), Prefab allows customers to harness the knowledge and real world experience of two experts and be up and running with new a web site in a short period of time (Influx says about one day).
An expert designed web site that’s up and running quickly might be an idea that is very appealing to some libraries.
We will be watching.
Two brief comments.
1. We love the idea that libraries who might not be able to afford to bring in web design consultants (who specifically know library web site design) to build a new site can move forward and also utilize Influx expertise.
2. infoDOCKET is a longtime admirer and supporter of librarians as entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneur is another title that Schmidt and Etches can and should place on their resume. The launch of Prefab, a service available to all libraries, is taking their entrepreneurial skills to the next level.
Learn More: Direct to a Demo of Prefab
Learn More: Direct to Prefab Info Page