How to Make Your Website Kit Process Easier
- Ditch “design by committee.” As tempting as it is to have a team of some sort, in our experience, this almost always leads to either delays and/or disasters. You can never make everyone happy! Feel free to gather your staff’s input prior to your first phone call with Laura, but we strongly recommend that only 1-2 (MAYBE 3) people from your library should be involved in the actual phone conference. Because it is difficult to please everyone, typical Web Kit projects that are managed by committees tend not to only run longer, but can be more expensive because of constant revisions. To save your library time and money, designate 1-2 people to be in charge of the process and who can step in to make a decision as needed.
- Remind your staff who the site is for. In our experience, library staff doesn’t always recognize that the primary (and only) audience for a public website is the public! Attempts to include resources specifically for the reference desk or to organize content just so it’s easier for the staff will generally be opposed by OPLIN. Remind your staff, when seeking input, that patrons not only come first, but are the entire audience for your new site.
- Filter the input from your staff. If you are collecting suggestions from your staff, please filter the list (or have your designated liason/leader do so) to just those things that are things you would actually consider. For example, if a staff person suggests that the site should primarily be orange and the library’s branding scheme is primarily blue, remove this from the list. It will save a great deal of time for everyone involved.
- Changes to an approved site architecture will cost money. The site architecture is typically the first step in planning your new Website Kit. Once your library has signed off on that, any changes will incur additional charges, at the custom work rate. Keep this in mind when you are looking at the first design draft; changes to the top level navigation or side blocks, for instance, after the approval was already signed, will increase your library's cost. This is why it is important to make sure you're happy with the architecture, before you sign it.
- Remember that your library gets three (3) design drafts—total. Although this is almost always mentioned in the initial call with OPLIN (and is on our website, too), it’s worth mentioning again. As part of the standard Website Kit, your library gets 3 design drafts—total. Beyond that, the custom rate is charged per hour of work. Asking for a sample website in your color scheme will be counted as one of the drafts, as will any tweaks requiring the creation of a new image. If you’re not sure what will be counted, please ask! We’d much rather save you the money.
- Outside design work is charged at the hourly rate. Please remember that, if OPLIN does not do the design, it is considered to be custom work and will be charged at the hourly rate for implementation and as an additional fee. While we will implement outsourced (or library in-house) designs, they typically increase work time in constructing custom CSS files, re-working graphics to work with the Drupal theme template and communications required between OPLIN and the third-party designer.
- Don’t use print copies of the design drafts to make decisions. When you get a design prototype from OPLIN, it can be very tempting to print it out to show to other staff. However, most printers automatically scale things to fit the paper. This means that you will not see it in the same way you will see it on a computer monitor. Be sure to pull up the .jpg OPLIN sends you in a browser so you can see it on your monitor!
- Understand that part of OPLIN’s job is to educate. We focus strongly on current best practices in usability and accessibility, as well as site navigation and site design. If we veto something, we’ll always explain WHY and often provide you with third-party resources where you can learn more about current standards.