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March 2017

5 Tips & Tricks for Reinventing Your LibGuides

Crocs might have been in fashion 10 years ago, but now only Mario Batali can pull them off.

Your LibGuides site might have been around for the last 10 years, too, but it doesn't have to look like it! After all, you don't want your guides getting caught wearing last decade's fashion, right?

In this edition of LibGuides Tips & Tricks, we'll explore ways you can refresh your guides with a modern, minimalist design, as well as how to make your guides stand out in the age of the #hashtag.


1. Streamline Your Look... With Floating Boxes

A big part of 2017's minimalist web design is white space, or negative space.

Negative space is just as important as the space where your content resides.

A great way to embrace white space is to make use of floating boxes.

floating box menu

Floating boxes remove your box title and border from the public interface, giving you more white space around your content. The end result is a fresh composition that's easy on the eyes. 

On the admin-side, you'll still see the box title and borders - but the 'life-buoy' icon let's you know that floating is enabled.

  • White space, or negative space, is the spacing between elements.
  • Positive space is the content area that is 'filled'.
  • Negative space helps to mold, or define, the positive space.
  • There are two levels of white space: macro and micro.
  • Macro refers to the space between core elements.
  • Micro refers to the space between smaller elements.

Adapted from "Using White Space In Your Designs"

Admin Interface

floating box on admin side

Public Interface

floating box on public side

2. KonMari Your LibGuide

Marie Kondo's "Japanese Art to Decluttering Your Life" might have been aimed at home life, but its principles can be applied to your LibGuides.

Take advantage of LibGuides v2's Tabbed Boxes as a way to declutter and simplify your LibGuide.

For each page in your LibGuide, ask yourself:

  • Does this need to be on its own page?
  • Is this information needed and relevant?
  • Could 'like' boxes be grouped together?
Minimalism is not subtraction for the sake of subtraction. Minimalism is subtraction for the sake of focus.

- AberMinimal

Consolidate Pages Into a Tabbed Box

Does your LibGuide have a lot of pages/subpages? Could that information be condensed into one tabbed box?

Drury College did just that when they moved from LibGuides v1 to v2. They consolidated several boxes across multiple pages into one tabbed box.

Drury College LibGuides v1

Drury LibGuides v1

Drury College LibGuides v2

Drury LibGuides v2

Condense Multiple Boxes Into one Tabbed Box

If you have several similar boxes on a page, group them together into one tabbed box. This helps to reduce scrolling and makes it more user-friendly.

Tips

  • Don't use too many. Tabbed boxes are great, but you can have too much of a good thing. Use them in moderation.
  • Group similar content together. Tabbed boxes work best when the content is similar. Group together search boxes, widgets, or conceptually-similar content.
  • Make it float. Tabbed boxes look great without a box border or title.
  • Avoid Confusion. If your tabbed boxes have the same color as your page tabs, users can get confused. Consider customizing either the page tabs or box tabs to be a different color. 

3. Look Back...To See How Far You've Come

You can't know where you're going until you know where you've been. If you have a long-standing LibGuide, a great way to see how it's changed, and will change, over time is by creating an archive... of sorts.

Using Guide HTML backups, you can create a snapshot of your guide over time. Create a new HTML Backup every time you make significant changes.

New HTML Backups in LibGuides v2 don't overwrite the previous backup.

Navigate to Tools > Data Exports > Guide HTML Tab  and click "Display all available backups" to view all backups. Then, filter by Guide ID to sort them all together.

Pick the version you want to check out and click the icon.

html guide backups

4. Adding #Hashtags To Guide Descriptions Can Affect SEO

Since its inception in 2006, Twitter has revolutionized social media. It took the concept of 140-character microblog posts to the next level with it's creation of the #hashtag. Now, we see #hashtags being used across all social platforms from Facebook, to Instagram, to Snapchat.

Hashtags are a type of metadata label used on social networks to make it easier for users to search for social media posts with a specific theme or content.

Here are some examples: #yolo #brexit #funnycat

But, what you might not know is that including #hashtags in your LibGuides description, LibGuides Blog Post titles, and other areas could affect your SEO.

using hashtags in guide descriptions

Google has even begun incorporating hashtags into search results in a unique way. Now, searching for a hashtag on Google will not only give you a list of search results, but will also include a live scrolling feed of Google+ posts containing that hashtag and links to other hashtag feeds on other social networks, including Facebook and Twitter.

-- Red Crow Marketing, How Do #Hashtags Affect My #SEO?


Bottom-line, incorporating #hashtags in your LibGuide descriptions, Blog Post titles, and your Social Media posts will mean more opportunities to feature your content on Google. 


5. Let's Get Visual, Visual... Adding Icons to Page Titles

Pardon our Olivia Newton John pun, but we couldn't help ourselves. 

Visuals are a huge part of 2017. We live in the age of Instagram and Snapchat - where images speak volumes.

A great way to jazz up your LibGuides, especially if you're using side-nav layout, is by adding Font-Awesome Icons to your Page Titles.

Font awesome icons in LibGuides sidenav layout

Adding Font Awesome Icons to Page Titles

Exploring Font Awesome Icons with LibGuides