03 12 / 2012

The Learning Space toolkit looks like a neat resource to help design and plan libraries/learning spaces. Of particular interest is the section on Data Gathering Tools that includes a bunch of ethnographic methods (like observations, interviews, photo diaries, focus groups, etc.) and ideas/resources for each. No better way to get a start on designing a new space than to delve into user needs/behaviours first!

29 11 / 2012

etches:

I am seriously excited about digging into this one. From the abstract:

Participatory design is an approach to building spaces, services, and tools where the people who will use them participate centrally in coming up with concepts and then designing the actual products. The papers in this volume, written by librarians and IT professionals from 12 colleges and universities, report on user research and participatory design projects.

29 11 / 2012

Here at Brock, we’re in the midst of redesigning our library homepage and hoping to learn more about what elements/tools/links are valuable and what’s not so valuable on the homepage.  What’s hot, what’s not! ;) Using the Card Sort activity, we asked students (and faculty) to “give the library homepage a makeover” and offered a free coffee ticket for their time.  Over all the activity went well! We were set up for about 3hrs and many people participated (approx 20) and many staff from different university departments are thinking about using the same approach for their own website redesigns!

Here are a couple pics from the day!

- Colleen M

09 11 / 2012

On Monday I begin a two week online course offered by the Library Juice Academy.  It looks like it will be a useful course that will explain the processes of organizing, implementing and analyzing usability tests and other user research methods. I’ll keep you posted! 

- Colleen M.

04 10 / 2012

Rapid Ethnography in Process

Rapid Ethnography in Process

04 10 / 2012

We made a lot of changes to our library over the summer and wanted to find out what students thought of the changes. We hemmed and hawed about how to do this, then decided to just wheel out a white board, provide some markers and sticky notes, and get quick responses to the question: “We’ve  made some changes around here…what do you think?” The board was quickly filled with sticky notes and we got some useful responses.

-Robin B.

04 10 / 2012

The User Experience Team at the U of Guelph investigated how faculty research groups work together online. Many UG faculty have colleagues at other universities or in the field with whom they are unable to meet face to face. We were asked to find out which online tools they use, and whether or not these tools are meeting their needs. The purpose was to discover if a Virtual Research Environment (a platform that helps researchers keep track of communications, documents, and data and stores and preserves information in a secure space) was desirable to UG research teams.

The User Experience team draws on the research methods and philosophical approach used in design research and ethnography which puts the user at the centre of the research. In this study we were interested in the qualitative experience researchers have when they collaborate in the virtual environment. We could have simply sent out a survey asking researchers what they need from a Virtual Research Environment. Instead, we took a more exploratory approach to learn how they work online and get a more in depth and realistic answer to the question whether there is a general need for a library-supported VRE. As one of our interviewees noted, “we don‘t know what we don‘t know” so asking researchers what tools would make life easier can be a difficult question to answer.

We met with them in their offices so that they would be most comfortable, and so they could directly refer to the tools they were using, demonstrate them, if necessary, and so we could ask about anything we saw in their office that might be useful for the study. We knew that observing what people actually do is often more revealing than what they say they do. We were unable to watch researchers‘ collaboration in action, so the next best thing was to at least talk to them in their natural environment.

- Robin B.

24 9 / 2012

Randy Oldham does guerrilla usability testing in the lobby of McLaughlin Library, University of Guelph.

Randy Oldham does guerrilla usability testing in the lobby of McLaughlin Library, University of Guelph.

09 9 / 2012

We saw how Occupy Wall Street had adapted communication tools to meet their needs and we came to understand how they had shaped them to fit their values and their goals. In our subsequent ideation workshop, our concept teams were able develop culturally-grounded ideas, not just addressing the obvious needs of the occupiers, but supporting their existing communication practices in ways that embrace and extend their shared values and goals. This is the level of understanding required for holistic design work. This is why we take an ethnographic approach to design.

07 9 / 2012

UX librarians from all over Ontario got together to talk about what we do. Appropriately, we met in the Usability & Interaction Lab at the iSchool, U of T!

UX librarians from all over Ontario got together to talk about what we do. Appropriately, we met in the Usability & Interaction Lab at the iSchool, U of T!