How Many Dimensions of Compatibility?: Discovering What's Right for Your Users
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How Many Dimensions of Compatibility?: Discovering What's Right for Your Users

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How Many Dimensions of Compatibility: Discovering What's Right for Your Users...

How Many Dimensions of Compatibility: Discovering What's Right for Your Users

This was the keynote address at University of Houston Library's Discovery Day Camp on June 10, 2011. Some extra screenshots of admin interfaces have been added after the actual presentation.

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How Many Dimensions of Compatibility?: Discovering What's Right for Your Users How Many Dimensions of Compatibility?: Discovering What's Right for Your Users Presentation Transcript

  • How Many Dimensions of Compatibility? Discovering What's Right for Your Users University of Houston Libraries Discovery Day Camp June 10, 2011 Marliese Thomas Auburn University Libraries
  • x
  • When investigating discovery products....
    • How many dimensions of compatibility do you really need?
    • Are you overly narrow or overly broad in your search criteria?
    • Are we shifting away from the idea of “marrying” our product decisions?
  • Everlasting love....
    • Traditional ILS purchases were long-term investments
      • Change was a major undertaking
      • Staff, $$$, users
    • Does that reasoning still apply?
      • Buying a car vs. a laptop
  • … or head in the clouds?
    • Hosted solutions allow for lower up-front costs
    • Flexibility in required staffing
    • Be more reactive to changing technology landscape
    • Possible short-term solution
      • How short is short-term?
  • So, what next? Form a committee? Photo by hlehto. http://www.flickr.com/photos/hlehto/532099446/
  • Well, that depends...
    • On your product
      • Open source and customized solutions require more local staff time
    • On your staff
      • Who is responsible for the project?
      • What skills do you have among your people?
    • On your local culture and geography
      • Representation from other departments, branches?
      • Identify needed skills, then desired insights
  • Gathering feedback
    • From users
      • Good old focus groups
      • Online surveys
      • Student Advisory Council
    • Technical capabilities
      • Server speed and strength
      • Data management, statistics
    • It never really ends...
    • Photo by Night-thing. http://www.flickr.com/photos/80327698@N00/4998726133/
  • Don't forget about your employee users, too!
    • Engage them in the process
      • Bug blitzes - prizes!
      • Committee work
    • Help them understand the what and the why
      • Analogies, examples – The Cookie Analogy
      • Forums, other communication
    • Know when to refer questions to a higher authority
  • Managing the flow of information
  • What information?
    • Documentation (I can't stress this enough)
    • Regular communication with the higher ups
    • Comments from all directions
      • Feedback forms
      • Unsolicited opinions
      • Ongoing development work
      • Error reports
  • We tried anything and everything
    • Wikis
    • Blogs
    • Email groups
    • Listservs
    • Shared documents (GoogleDocs)
    • Online forms
    • Bugzilla and Mercurial (for the programmers)
  • Redmine.... just right. For us.
    • Open source ticket tracking software
    • Tickets are created from emailed comments
    • It can also store committee documents and blog postings
    • Managed by our head programmer – no more bi-weekly roundtable meetings!
    • Note: This was a perfect way for the Auburn University Libraries group to transition the VuFind development project into maintenance mode.
  • Development is done, and you're ready to release the new search box.
  • But can we provide too much customization?
    • Argument A: Integrating all our resources into one interface doesn't help the student actively know what resource he/she is using. It's overwhelming
    • Argument B: If we pre-narrow the field too much, will students realize their search results are essentially being edited before they are even displayed?
  • Picky, picky, picky
    • Websites like Google and Facebook use cookie-based and other information to 'personalize' your experience
    • Results the algorithms predict you won't find appealing are removed from the results list or news feed
      • Great for advertisements
      • Not so great for undergraduate research
  • “Every technology has an interface... a place where you end and the technology begins. And when the technology's job is to show you the world, it ends up sitting between you and reality, like a camera lens.” Eli Pariser, The Filter Bubble
  • You have to see where you're going to know if you're facing the right direction.
  • Marliese Thomas Librarian for Special Collections Technology Auburn University Libraries [email_address] 334.844.8171 Twitter @msthomas Slideshare: marliesethomas