Things That Squeak and Make You Feel Bad: Building Scalable User Experience Programs for Space Assessment
This article suggests a process for creating a user experience (UX) assessment of space program that requires limited resources and minimal prior UX experience. By beginning with small scale methods, like comment boxes and easel prompts, librarians can overturn false assumptions about user behaviors, ground deeper investigations such as focus groups, and generate momentum. At the same time, these methods should feed into larger efforts to build trust and interest with peers and administration, laying the groundwork for more in-depth space UX assessment and more significant changes. The process and approach we suggest can be scaled for use in both large and small library systems.
Usability testing is a commonplace practice in many academic libraries, but the data produced during the course of usability testing have many more stories to tell if given the chance. Not only can the data help us improve our users’ online experience as they engage with our website and search tools, but it can tell us about how our students search and research, and what motivates those choices. That kind of data can guide our information literacy practices to be even more successful. This article describes the methodology used to analyze usability testing data for insights into information literacy teaching under the auspice of an IRB-approved study. It concludes that usability testing data can be analyzed and re-used to help bridge gaps and make connections between different library departments and roles and to motivate change in teaching practices that are informed by observations of local user behavior.
Instead of pursuing traditional testing methods, Discovery and Innovation at Wayne State University Libraries settled on an alternate path to user-centered design when redesigning our library website: running hour-long “guerrilla” usability tests each week for two semesters. The team found immediate successes with this simple, cost-effective method of usability testing, leading to similar redesign projects for other online resources. Emphasizing the importance of iterative design and continuous improvement, this article will detail the authors’ experience conducting short weekly tests, suggestions for institutions looking to begin similar testing programs, and low-stakes testing as a pathway to improved design for the library as a whole.
In September 2017, Weave reached out to a number of academic and public librarians with the hope of instigating and documenting the conversation they might have with one another about the user experience issues facing collection development and e-resources librarians.
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