To be fair, so is everything else. It is important for us to have a better design staff side since that will help us serve our Patrons more efficiently and effectively. If we like cataloguing – if it's FUN to do it, operations will run smoother, just as if it's fun to develop, our community will progress quickly. http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/oj s/index.php/fm/rt/printerFriendly/1422/1340#l3 I've never heard a Librarian wax profane about how fly their Intranet is – not for any system on the market. Let's change that!
Aisa Des Hai Mera! People often ask why I bother gaming. It is very simple. I game because a massive multi player online environment is a wonderful learning lab. If I make a mistake in the virtual world, there is no great cost to me or an organisation. The MacArthur Foundation realises this potential as well: there is currently a competition for what they call a badge system, and what a Warcraft player would call an achievement system. There is much we can adapt from gaming to suit our needs as we strive to make Koha the best product we can.
So what do we get when we add Koha and Conan?
Well, it's sure not this. U-G-L-Y we ain't got no alibi, this ugly! Now, we have come a long way from the even uglier earlier iteration of this login. However, we are not yet at the mountaintop. This is a professional's first opinion of this product. While there are many screens we can't mess with too much thanks to some nagging bandwidth problems in rural areas, I still feel that having a balling welcome screen will go miles towards good marketing and appeal. Let's go for it!
I readily admit that I'm not a graphic designer, but let's make things a bit more sexy than their current iteration. I bet that we could find people that are willing to volunteer for this sort of thing. At very least, as with the Nelsonville templates, folks could come up with an alternate theme or skin and not feel as though they're dictating their taste to the project as a whole. We could do this, or a neat animation, or what have you. World of Warcraft has a heavy duty cool cinematic that changes with the introduction of each new expansion.
In the 2.0 days, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, it might have been less attractive in terms of a colour scheme, but it was more user friendly. Someplace along the line, we dumped user friendly for tonnes of features. Alan Cooper cautions against oodles of features in The Inmates are Running the Asylum, which despite its age, is worth the read. Don't get me wrong, tonnes of features are awesome, but I think it's time to go back and figure out how we can cram in all of those nifty features AND have an intuitive interface. More importantly, I hope that going forward, all of us think about the organisation of things from square one, which might save some time.
Fixing the login screen is easy peasy. The real work is making hard to grasp concepts intuitive through the way that we fabricate the interface. Smart folks call this junk interaction to make us dumb folks feel better. I don't particularly like that word, so I'll mostly stick to the deprecated interface. Let's start with a really easy fix. Let's find out who we are, and where.
There are almost no pictures in this picture! * gasp * All the type is teeny tiny, which I know I can alter in my browser. BUT think wee slips of 80 year old Librarians trying to suss out what's where for the first time. If our usability bar is set to grandma, we can't go wrong. (Oh the hate mail Ima get...)
Ahhh, that's a little better. I can now tell at a glance who I am impersonating and where I imagine I am. Some of the work is kind of done for us. Can we integrate Libravatar into the mix to show for logins? If we really want to get nifty, how about having cool avatars that unlock as staff hit harder meta achievements. :) Unlockable content is a gaming standard, and it's a surefire way to add fun to a grind. But wait, there's more ugly text to get rid of, or at least make useful, or morph into cooler stuff.
While the chat interface in WoW is not as stellar as it could be, out of the box a user has access to different channels and can customise the colours of text to their liking. Most MMORPGs have text of some kind. Heck, I remember the good olde days of GalTrader, and dammit, we could talk to other space pilots back in the days of text based stuff. We are the cool kids on the block! We want more people to use IRC – integrate it. Think of how much faster Librarians could solve their problems without having to wade through mibbit. Our developers are not hiding under rocks, and IRC integration would help upskill end users by giving them a glimpse into problem solving if they wanted to pay attention. Roll virtual reference into the staff interface so it's not another thing to check. If we're clever by design, we can make services seamless and add real value to our product.
Tyrannical bosses aren't going to want to see this integration. Well, at least until they read some studies on the brain and learn that when you swap tasks here and there, it improves memory and performance. (Cite later) If we have something like this pop up, and then integrate a few non complex games like a crossword, hangman (and hangman was customised at the Arlington Public Library to teach you about different things there) or solitaire, it might be beneficial to our users. It'd certainly be cool. :) Just a note: this might want to be done on idle instead of a flat timer. A lot of gamers are annoyed at when this pops up, and I'd imagine no one wants to see this while original cataloguing.
Sorry guys, it's true. I appreciate your agonising so that we can find stuff. I <3 the 856u field as much as you do. I submit that if we do cataloguing right, we win. So where do we start? Well, and this is radical, I think we give folks three options instead of just a one size fits all approach.
Advanced cataloguing should just give them their 3X5 back. If you get a little fancy and have a tab for the leader, fine. Perhaps you can pick on them by adding a false hole for the card catalogue rod at the bottom of the text box, but really, truly, just a text box is wonderful. If you get fancy, you may add colour to the MARC fields like Dreamweaver. Folks using this cataloguing option know how to do original cataloguing, and they just want to be able to do their thing without the interface getting in their way. The intermediate level would look very similar to this. The additional element would be a fetch button for z39.50. A retrieved record would be inserted into the text box and you'd just be able to add an additional subject entry or what have you. For both, we could integrate a toolbox feature that contained links to things like Mac's cataloguing cheat sheets. Cataloguers could put their favourite references inside. Reference Librarians could store lists of their favourite resources. If we wanted to get clever, we could associate frameworks with the itemtype icon and have a moveable UI tray like the spell bar in World of Warcraft that would allow a cataloguer to customise their login for the tasks they tended to perform most frequently.
Beginners secretly want you to just do it for them. Barring that, they just want their stuff in the computer. This is the appeal of delicious library. But, I want them to learn to be better cataloguers. Anyone can figure out what they are holding in their hand and pick the appropriate itemtype icon.
When you think about it, the whole process of cataloguing is just one very long mental flowchart. We've created frameworks, so if we assign a logical set of aboutness questions to each, we can have a novice doing much higher quality cataloguing than they otherwise would. On mouseover, we can make it so that the prompt tells a user what field it's tying the input to in the MARC record. By keeping things sort of graphically familiar with intermediate and advanced cataloguing, a novice can progress, or level up, their library skills quicker.
What happens when you mix day traders and World of Warcraft's Auction House? You get Auction House add ons like Auctioneer. We are essentially performing the same functions when we sit down to collection development. We look at our circulation statistics, we see what's gone out in the past, and we try to predict future performance. Some works transcend popularity – we're looking to fill out our collection intellectually. Imagine if our acquisitions were as powerful and easy to use as Auctioneer. We could crawl NYTimes for bestsellers, check the list against what's on the shelf or in processing, have it tally the remainder and bundle it for a bulk order.
Not only would integrating Liveplasma be cool for acquisitions, it would be cool for Patrons hunting about for readalikes. Liveplasma started as music plasma, so I still think it does the best job with music, but it branched out to movies and books. Think about our OPAC display for a tick. How powerful would it be to link data in such a fashion that if a Patron were browsing, they could not only view what the Library owns, but the WorldCat or Consortial holdings if the Library doesn't have it, and barring a hit there, a link to an Amazon wishlist for their local branch.
When most of the community thought about gamification, they thought about an achievement system. The DML competition is again basically aimed at creating achievements. Achievements are how you brag to your friends about what you can do in game. But wouldn't it be cool to adapt this for evil Library purposes? World of Warcraft added in a quest tracking mechanism a few patches back. Why not adapt that so that we can track which points of our annual plan we're addressing through acquisitions, or virtual reference, or what have you? For Patrons, one could track say 7/10 Vampire Novels read. Even if the summary screen was more pie charty than this one, which might suit us better and keep us from being sued by Blizzard, we'd be able to see IN ONE PLACE what someone's strengths and weaknesses are.
Figuring out who does what is often a problem for Patrons AND Staff. Having an overview of what a member is interested in can really help our Patrons ensure that they're addressing their questions to the Staffer that is best suited to cater to them. Staff would be able to utilise this as well if they needed someone to cover for them. Administrators would be able to tell at a glance if cross training were working as well as intended. Everyone would want that counter to tick upwards and would start performing tasks they might have shied from in the past. Patrons could read stuff they had avoided, or at least compare their habits to other Patrons reading in a similar genre who also opted in. Think of the idle chit chat, Batman!
I can go on a really long time about the niggling details of dozens of different features that could be added or made more intuitive. The long and short of it is that I believe very strongly that each time we make a big number change (as in a version everyone agrees is a huge increment, like 1.0 to 2.0) we should put our heads together and ensure that all of those features are logically and intuitively arranged. Let's put the fun and the depth back into this project every time something big changes, and if we can stay ahead of things between versions, all the better.
Brooke's Fantasy Towards a Graphical Intuitive Interface Derived from Gaming Screenshot from ShellyBelly courtesy of wowhead.com World of Warcraft is property of Blizzard Entertainment.
@kohails : I <3 u #butyouuglythough Twitter logo from twitter.com
Pro Tip: If it Ain't Interesting, We Don't Read #confessionsofalibrarian
Te Takere sails swiped from HLT. Jo's picture swiped from Twitter.
Screenshot derived from jpgnexus from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qbd1eu8keeU N intendo ™
“ Cataloguing is the Broccoli of Library Science.” The quote is from an anonymous schoolie. The picture is from Wikimedia Commons and was taken by Jon Sullivan
100 1_$a Santis, Pablo de, $d 1963- 240 10 $a CaliÌgrafo de Voltaire. Cataloguers Secretly Just Want Their Typewriter and 3X5 Index Card Back Fetch icon modified from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fido%5E_Fetch%5E_-_geograph.org.uk_-_607645.jpg byAlbert Bridge