The five previous posts in this series have all been mostly concerned with physical spaces. Now let’s take a quick look at basic service design.
Posts Tagged ‘user experience’
We’ve been throwing the term “user experience” around, but we haven’t taken a look at exactly who the ‘U’ in UX is.
People often become overwhelmed when thinking about changing their library to incorporate User Experience principles. Don’t panic, though – you can start small.
A recent Business Insider article touts the changes coming to public libraries, detailing the shifts our field will see over the next fifty years. According to writer Chris Weller’s research, libraries five decades from now will transform into “all-in-one spaces for learning, consuming, sharing, creating, and experiencing,” even offering alternate realities for loan. Their emphasis will be on connectivity, not just physically providing technology to patrons, but also in linking them with sensory experiences. They will connect experience with the ever-present technological movements of social media, streaming content, and data.
Design Thinking and Human Centered Design are two different terms for the same basic concept. The idea is to use techniques to help shift the human brain out of familiar ways of thinking and generate creative solutions.
The first step in improving your space is understanding what you already have. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, and enlisting the help of someone who isn’t a regular library user for a “secret shopper”-style visit will provide some great information. A secret shopper is someone who comes into the library posing as a patron with the aim of evaluating the service—either something very specific or the library experience in general. They make extensive notes after the visit and report back to the management (or whoever commissioned the visit). This is a technique used extensively in business—retail and restaurants in particular.
Do community members rush into your library, grab a few items, and leave, or do they view spending time there as time well spent? The answer to that question may determine whether you are participating in the experience economy, as described by Joe Pine in his and co-author James Gilmore’s now-famous work, “The Experience Economy.”
UX, or user experience, is a hot topic in the library world, but what does it mean in practical terms? This series of articles will aim to demystify the concepts of user experience, design thinking, and human-centered design for public librarians. A common misperception is that you need a lot of time and money to embark on a program of integrating these ideas into your library—far from it. The key is to shift your thinking and consider every aspect of service from the user’s point of view. Everything from your voicemail message to your policy manual plays a part.
The OCLC Library in the Life of the User meeting last fall explored research and case studies about user expectations. Needs have shifted radically. It is no longer enough to design library services on what librarians think their users should be interested in. The time has come to “shift from looking at user in life of library to library in life of the user.”
When we say “user experience” we are talking about something that can be measured. While user experience designers are motivated to make awesome things an decrease worldsuck, library stakeholders may not always understand the motivation behind user-driven decisions. For all they see, these changes may simply be about the visual look and feel of a website. The thing to stress is that user experience is plottable and predictable. User experience affects the library’s bottom line.