Jun 5, 2019 / Jim Woodman

The Librarian’s Dilemma

You want a website that allows your users to find what they are looking for fast. You also want to share the heaps of important information you are sure they need! How on earth do you wrangle it all?

Library, Information Architecture, Visual Design, Less is More


Sharing information is in our DNA

As a librarian myself, I understand the inclination to want to put everything on the home page. That’s how you’re trained in library school; to give people information and generously assist their research. I worked at a private library where scholars came from all over the world. I’d sit with them for hours, guiding and sharing and devouring. I loved it.

Us vs. most website visitors

See, you and I are research-people. We’re information-people. We know that knowledge is the greatest asset.

While we—as research-folks—may dream of being engulfed up to our eyeballs in books and knowledge and research papers, most library patrons and website visitors don’t. (Mind boggling, right?)

A good website is like a friendly librarian

In person, you ask questions to understand what your patrons need. Consider your website the smiling, approachable librarian or guide who says, “Can I help you?”

With a website, you have to help them narrow down what they want, in a way that is easy-to-navigate. We must invite them in—and let them tell us what they need—before we administer that deluge of helpful information.

We have to present info in a way that’s most usable. It’s not always tons of text, and it’s not all on the home page.

  • Prioritize to put only the most important info on the home page
  • Make it easy to dig in for more specific information
  • Give them white space so they don’t feel overwhelmed
  • Use infographics, charts, and numerical graphics
  • Remember that less is often more

This is the best way to truly make information accessible online!

Let’s work together

I have the same, deep-rooted desire to share information as you do. When it comes to websites, I can help you present your content in a way that will be most meaningful and usable to your clients.

Need a website that’s crystal clear and clutter free, yet opens the pathway for beautiful information? I can help.

—Jim Woodman


Recent Work

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Leominster Public Library
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Boston Children's Chorus
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Children's Advocacy Center of Suffolk County

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