February 16, 2018

Guiding LibGuides | The User Experience

When LibGuides 2 was released in 2015, Texas A&M University Libraries seized the opportunity to rethink radically our LibGuides program. Instead of transferring existing content to the new platform, we chose to start from scratch with a renewed focus on the user experience within Guides. A pivotal part of this reconstruction involved training more than 60 librarians and staff members who serve as LibGuides creators.

Focus Group Insights | The User Experience

As librarians, we are always on the lookout for opportunities to improve the user experience. When you have a great idea and time to plan, focus groups can help uncover attitudes, experiences, and opinions through group discussion.

Participatory Design in Action | The User Experience

Participatory Design (PD) is a method for engaging deeply with users in order to build inclusive, future-oriented, user-centered services. This year I piloted a PD project with a group of four Native American students at Montana State University (MSU) called User Experience with Underrepresented Populations (UXUP). With 650 enrolled Native students, comprising four percent of our student population, this is a growing and important user community for our library.

Hit Refresh | User Experience

The World Wide Web is always evolving, and user expectations constantly respond to prevailing trends. Navigation habits become conditioned by content management system (CMS) templates, common screen layouts, search bar locations, and menu designs that shape how people use popular websites. And libraries have to keep pace.

Creating UX Buy-In | The User Experience

Facilitating meetings that encourage creative strategizing can be a way to move organizational thinking from problem-solving to solution-focused.

DIY Usability: First-Click Testing | The User Experience

Although every library would benefit from running usability studies, not every library has a dedicated staff available to conduct those studies. Anecdotally, librarians seem to feel incapable of undertaking usability studies for reasons including time, budget, and expertise.

Usability and Desirability | The User Experience

Spend five minutes brainstorming—or looking around your library—and I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with a list of ten things that aren’t as easy as they could be. Common library pain points include the OPAC, computer access, printing, self-check interfaces, locating items, and wayfinding quirks. Ironing out these wrinkles is important because making our libraries easier for people to use improves their experiences.

Growing Mobile | The Digital Shift

Smartphone ownership is quickly becoming the norm, and smartphones have become a primary Internet access point for low income consumers. Here’s a look at a few emerging trends, as libraries adapt to this growth by launching apps and responsive websites.

Take Out the Books | The User Experience

The Inter-Faith Council (IFC) in Chapel Hill, NC, in fall 2015 opened the doors to its new residential men’s shelter, the Community House. Included in the new building was a room designated as the shelter’s library. Seemingly within minutes of its existence, generous book donations had filled the small space, but the residents didn’t use it. When Stephani Kilpatrick, residential director of IFC, asked if the Chapel Hill Public Library (CHPL) would help turn this space into something more useful, we jumped at the chance.

Rebecca Blakiston | Movers & Shakers 2016 – Tech Leaders

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.