From time to time, people ask me to recommend books that they can read which will help them improve their radio station's websites. Inevitably, I came back to three of my favorites — two of which are by the same author! If you're looking to do some professional self-development during your summer vacation, pick up one of these:
1. Don't Make Me Think (Revisitied) by Steve Krug
This book was first given to me by a graphic designer who had been assigned it in one of her college courses, and it changed the way I view websites. Krug tackles the topic of website design and explains why most websites look and perform terribly: they're built by committee! It's an insight that will ring true for many radio professionals. Krug shows you how to avoid common pitfalls in website design. The latest version of the book is updated to cover mobile usability in addition to websites viewed from desktop computers. It's an easy ready with breezy language and lots of illustrations, but it's packed with useful insights.
2. Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug
Krug's experience with website design comes from years of testing websites. In this short book, he explains how he does it using a step-by-step process that anybody can follow. I know, because I taught myself how to conduct website usability tests by reading this book. I've conducted them on many websites that I have built myself (including the site you're looking at right now), and found them to be incredibly valuable. Ever since, I've been a staunch advocate of running these tests. Of course, you can hire me to do it for you, but the book is less expensive.
3. Forms That Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability by Caroline Jarrett and Gerry Gaffney
I know what you're thinking: “An entire book about how to design website forms? How useful can that be?!” That's what I thought, too…until I read it. Some of the most important goals of your website require people to fill out forms — to sign up for the email database, to enter a contest, to purchase concert tickets, to request information about advertising, etc. This means that digital forms have a direct impact on your radio station's bottom line. So better forms equal more revenue.
In this book, Jarrett and Gaffney will explain details that you've probably glossed over your entire life, like why it's effective to use a dropdown menu when asking people what state they live in but not when asking them what industry they work in. (Spoiler: They know the answer to the first question without seeing the choices; that's not true for the second question.) Trust me, this book is worth the money.
What books have you read that have helped you improve your radio station's digital strategy?
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