April 24, 2018

The User-Centered Library: Digital UX Workshop Preview


By now the concept of user experience (UX) has shown up on most librarians’ radar at some point. Whether you’ve found yourself curious about how better digital design could help your library’s traffic, you wish had a UX specialist on staff, you’re engaged by Aaron Schmidt’s The User Experience column, or you’ve considered learning more about user-centered design yourself, the chance to improve the library’s user experience is within everyone’s reach.

The upcoming Digital UX Workshop: Crafting Exceptional Digital Experiences for the User-Centered Library is the most recent in Library Journal’s series of Lead the Change online courses. Created in collaboration with Electronic Resources & Libraries (ER&L), the five-week online workshop runs from October 20 through November 17, and will feature a roster of library and UX experts tapping a wide range of experience. Library staff members who want to develop introductory or intermediate UX skills, web and general managers working on library projects, and librarians already concentrating on UX who are looking for fresh inspiration all stand to benefit from the workshop, as well as the hands-on experience and networking opportunities provided.

“Libraries exist in the digital world and are user-centered at their core, so these skills and ways of thinking are critical for the future of all types of libraries, explained Bonnie Tijerina, ER&L president and founder and a 2010 LJ Mover & Shaker. “This is why I see the workshop as being valuable for a seasoned web professional, a newbie to UX, a library team working on a digital project, and anyone thinking about their users’ online experience.”

Each week’s interactive sessions will incorporate a keynote and guest speakers via live webcast, with the opportunity for participants to ask questions and get feedback in real time. Homework assignments, done in small groups with help from facilitators, can be developed around a new idea or a project already in progress—redesigning a website, developing a mobile app, creating discovery tools, or updating the library’s user interface, for example. Participants will come away with a new body of knowledge, information about UX trends around the country, and a tangible end product to bring to their libraries.

Participants get access to The Commons, Lead the Change’s workshop discussion forums, as well—a great place to network with other librarians interested in UX, find out they’re working on, and get help with projects from fellow librarians and the group facilitators. Videos of all sessions will be available online for review for an additional four weeks after the course ends.

“The Crafting Exceptional Digital Experiences for the User-Centered Library workshop is a culmination of hand-picked topics and homework assignments from practicing User Experience professionals working on the web and in mobile,” said Tijerina. “The workshops are taught by professionals both in and outside of libraries, bringing current and dynamic perspectives to the library community.”

Guests will include Courtney Greene-McDonald, head of discovery and research services at Indiana University Libraries; Matt Franks, creative director at Blackboard and professor at Austin Center for Design; Rebecca Blakiston, associate librarian at the University of Arizona Libraries; Mailchimp research analyst Emily Austin and researcher Laurissa Wolfram-Hvass; and Zach Pousman, director of strategic services at THINK Interactive.

Workshop participants will learn about UX principles and the basics of user-centered design, as well as a range of topics that they can begin incorporating into their library’s digital design immediately: prototyping, content strategy and SEO, information architecture, usability, analytics, design, trends, and the best ways to communicate these new ideas to library management.

UX isn’t just the product of your library’s IT department’s these days, and anyone’s good ideas can be turned into great interfaces with the right tools and feedback. “Through the ER&L conference I run, the Designing for Digital conference I helped coordinate, and my work at Data & Society Research Institute,” said Tijerina, “I see the growing role and influence user-centered thinking has on organizations, individuals, and users.” Crafting Exceptional Digital Experiences for the User-Centered Library offers the chance to listen and learn about crafting great digital library experiences.

Lisa Peet About Lisa Peet

Lisa Peet is Associate Editor, News for Library Journal.