The Creating Passionate Users blog has some wonderful posts that often really get me thinking about ways to provide our users with better experiences. Kathy Sierra’s post, Competing for attention (i.e. why you need to be provocative), makes a compelling argument that we need to do something provocative in order to capture the attention of our client base. Kathy has a great pie chart with all of the different types of things that compete against each other for attention in one’s brain. Because there are so many things that compete for our attention, something needs to be very provocative in order to make us pay attention. Kathy writes: “We can moan all we want about how the responsible person should pay attention to what’s important rather than what’s compelling. But it’s not about responsibility or maturity. It’s not even about interest. It’s about the brain.” This statement made me stop and think and think some more. I think that libraries often see themselves and their mission as important – and believe that people will use libraries because of that importance. I wonder if this is part of the reason that libraries have not been great at marketing themselves historically – since we often see ourselves as serving an important function in people’s lives, we don’t believe that we need to get people’s attention. Kathy offers some suggestions on getting people’s attention: being provocative, being visual, being different (breaking patterns and expectations), being daring, changing things regularly, inspiring curiosity, posing a challenge, being controversial and committed, being fun, being stimulating, exciting and seductive, and helping users have hi-res experiences. While I don’t think that I will be able to use all of these suggestions, it seems to me to be a great way to challenge myself and my way of thinking about things in order to compel our users – to provide them with something that they would be interesting in using – to provide them with services they want to use – to provide them with spaces they want to visit.
Making People Pay Attention to Libraries