A decade ago, as a sociology major at the University of Arizona, it was Rebecca Blakiston’s wish to pursue a career that in some way helped people. Then she took an aptitude test that determined she was best suited to be a librarian. She soon began stocking shelves part-time in the library. She could not […]
It only takes about four seconds of talking to Rebecca Blakiston to get a glimpse of the passion that drives her and has made her so successful as user experience (UX) librarian at the University of Arizona (UA), Tucson. She has revolutionized how usability testing is carried out, created a role for a content strategist on her team, and still finds time to teach classes on usability testing, content strategy, and writing for the web. In addition to the many tasks she tackles daily, Blakiston develops goals and strategies for UA’s main website, which sees nearly three million visits per year.
UX designer Judy Siegel likes a good challenge. For the past six years, she has been helping a wide range of tech companies, startups, and nonprofits find design thinking solutions to their user experience problems. Currently director of user experience at MSNBC, Siegel has brought her design skills to CNN.com, the Information Architecture Institute, and recently the Data Privacy Project, a Knight Foundation–funded prototype project for an online technical support network that will help librarians set up secure digital services and educate their communities about privacy issues.
In August, Harvard Library opened its User Research Center (URC), where library staff can discuss, design, and implement in-person and device-based user experience research. According to Susan Fliss, Associate University Librarian for Research, Teaching, and Learning and Director and Librarian of Monroe C. Gutman Library, this is the next step in a change in focus for Harvard’s library system. “Over the past several years, Harvard librarians and staff have been investing time in developing skills in anthropological survey design and user testing. While we had many people who were undertaking user design projects, the projects were dispersed across libraries and schools.” By creating a centralized Research Center, Fliss hopes that Amy Deschenes, Library User Experience Specialist, and Kris Markman, Online Learning Librarian, can coordinate usability efforts across all of Harvard’s libraries.
What is happiness? What makes us happy? Do libraries have the capacity to deliver a happy experience to those who use them? All good questions. The answers are elusive, but thanks to a body of research on happiness accumulated over the past quarter century we are better able to answer those questions. Librarians are increasingly expressing an interest in the design of experiences that improve how community members interact with the full range of service, resources, and staff. Think of it as the “totality” of all that the library has to offer as an experience, not just the usability of the catalog, the cleanliness of the restrooms, or the smiles on staff faces at service points. Each, no doubt, is important to the overall experience. Great library experiences are delivered at every touch point where community members connect with the library.
Tamir Borensztajn and Deirdre Costello on Eye Bytes, Cognitive Load, Effective Outreach, and other aspects of the Digital Shift
On October 14, Library Journal and School Library Journal will host their sixth annual virtual conference, “The Digital Shift: Libraries Connecting Communities.” EBSCO Information Services is a Platinum Sponsor of the conference, and LJ reached out to Tamir Borensztajn, VP Discovery Strategy, and Deirdre Costello, Senior User Experience Researcher, to participate in this series of interviews addressing libraries’ evolving role in using the latest technology to connect patrons to the information, tools, and services that they need—and to one another.
I’m so happy I could be twins. We now have an honest-to-goodness Library User Experience (UX) Specialist: Amy Deschenes, who came to us from Simmons College, where she was the Systems and Web Applications Librarian. Amy has only been here for a couple of months, but the buzz has already gotten around about how much she can help us gain a user’s point of view; she did some work with undergraduate and graduate students right away upon getting to campus. I’d heard a lot of good things about her, and this summer our library is transitioning to LibGuides 2.0, which means it’s time for an overhaul of my LibGuides…so I wrote and asked if I could meet with her for pointers.
When superstorm Sandy hit the east coast in October 2012, the Queens Library (QL) in New York was among many northeastern library systems affected. QL persevered, continuing to offer crucial services in storm-ravaged communities while rebuilding damaged branches. The system also managed to turn a generous corporate donation into an innovative new platform for tablet computers, enabling a tech lending program that has since continued to grow.
Tuesday, October 28th, 2014, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PT
During this insightful discussion between Aaron Schmidt, Principal, Influx Library User Experience and LJ columnist (The User Experience) and Scott Young, Digital Initiatives Librarian, Montana State University, we will cover usability, web conventions, writing for the web, content strategy, and user research. You’ll take home tips and ideas that you can immediately use to improve your website.
Tuesday, October 14th, 2014, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PT
During this insightful discussion moderated by Aaron Schmidt, Principal, Influx Library User Experience and LJ columnist (The User Experience), library branding mavens will share the basics of branding and identity development, show examples from their successful efforts, and share practical tips that you can implement right away.