I attended my first ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) conference last week. In addition to being an amazing experience, it was quite eye-opening: there were several presentation sessions related to usability, assessment, and user experience design in library settings. These topics are clearly trending and becoming more popular among libraries, which is very exciting.
In an effort to share my first ACRL experience, I’m providing a list of links and summaries to some of these UXD-related presentations. I encourage everyone to read them:
- Seating Sweeps: An Innovative Research Method to Learn About How Our Patrons Use the Library (Mott Linn) – The speaker used an innovative research method call seating sweeps to learn how the clients at this university were using the library. The study determined which areas of the library and what types of furniture were used the most and least and where various activities took place. These findings greatly influenced the library’s recent renovation/expansion, which so inspired the student body that the door count more than doubled. Learn how to use this methodology.
- “The Mother of all LibGuides”: Applying Principles of Communication and Network Theory in LibGuide Design (Carol A. Leibiger and Alan W. Aldrich) – Ease of creation and flexibility make LibGuides popular in libraries. Their flexibility includes the ability to share content and create links across multiple LibGuides. A communication-as-design perspective is introduced and specific network models are identified for organizing LibGuides to manage changes and updates efficiently, thus easing librarians’ workload. Participants will evaluate these models in the context of their own libraries; an electronic handout provides guidance in the creation of these network models.
- Hidden Patterns of LibGuides Usage: Another Facet of Usability (Gabriela Castro-Gessner, Wendy Wilcox, and Adam Chandler) – In our paper, we present the analysis and use of raw log files for LibGuides used to contextualize and understand unfiltered user behavior as a novel approach that complements traditional usability testing of the LibGuides tool. We anticipate that revealing patterns derived directly from user actions and locations will allow us to make compelling and robust recommendations for our academic library community to enhance the use and value of library guides for our patrons.
- The Unobtrusive “Usability Test”: Creating Measurable Goals to Evaluate a Website (Tabatha Farney) – Determining the success of a library’s website is an ongoing process because the site’s intended audience constantly changes as students come and go every semester. Rather than assuming that your library’s website is still functional, unobtrusively test its usability by creating website goals that can be measured using website use data. Discover fundamental web analytics metrics and how to use them to evaluate a website without disturbing website users or spending a lot of time.
- (Dis)Abled: Transforming Disabling Library Spaces (Lorelei Rutledge and Alfred Mowdood) – Learn about a university library’s implementation of cultural competence models to better address disabled patrons’ needs. Discover new methods to develop a stronger institutional relationship with your Disability Services on campus, implement training strategies based on cultural competence models, and redefine and improve services, spaces and technology. Learn and discuss strategies and tools to accomplish these same changes on your campus.