Academic e-reading: themes from user experience studies


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Presentation given at the Society of Scholarly Publishers event on Nov. 8, 2011 in Washington, DC.

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Academic e-reading: themes from user experience studies

  1. 1. Academic E-ReadingThemes from User Experience StudiesNicole Hennig, HeadMIT Libraries User Experience GroupNov. 8, 2011
  2. 2. Today’s talk1. User needs study results2. Mobile academic ereading - the current state3. Mobile academic ereading - improving it
  3. 3. User Needs ResearchDigital Scholarship Study17 students kept diaries of theiracademic lives for a week- in-depth interviewshow are newtechnologies & formatschanging how studentswork?
  4. 4. ThemesConvenience wins Fragmentation hurts People count Place matters
  5. 5. Convenience winsFamiliarityTime invested in familiar systems Post-paper society - no more flipping through current journals
  6. 6. Convenience winsDifficult? change topic Interlibrary borrowing? Just difficult enough to skip.
  7. 7. Convenience winsThe convenience of pen &paper.
  8. 8. Convenience winsMobile works
  9. 9. Fragmentation hurtsMultiple storage solutions
  10. 10. Fragmentation hurtsEven “the cloud” is fragmented.
  11. 11. Fragmentation hurts
  12. 12. Fragmentation hurtsWork-arounds
  13. 13. People countCollaboration Flickr:
  14. 14. People countCollaboration tools
  15. 15. People countAlone together
  16. 16. People countDistance tools
  17. 17. People countFamiliar experts
  18. 18. Place matters24-hours, work from everywhere
  19. 19. ThemesConvenience wins Fragmentation hurts People count Place matters
  20. 20. “How might we?...”A. Convenience wins1. How might we make our services as convenient as possible?B. Fragmentation hurts1. How might we reduce fragmentation in our resources and tools that weprovide?2. How might we make our tools interoperate with the tools that peopleuse? (Dropbox, Instapaper, Google Docs, Evernote, Refworks, Zotero)C. People count1. How might we enable people to connect to the experts they need?
  21. 21. Academic ebooks - current situation
  22. 22. We subscribe tomany ebookpackages, butmost are noteasy to read onmobile devices.
  23. 23.
  24. 24. What we tell our users
  25. 25. Comparing features
  26. 26. What we look for
  27. 27. Students use of ebooks not growing Chronicle of Higher Education
  28. 28. MIT Libraries Fall 2011 survey77% have a smartphone or e-reader.MIT Libraries Fall 2011 Survey. 6,500 responses, 44% response rate
  29. 29. MIT students want to read & take notes while mobileResults not completely analyzed yet, but majority “not currently doing this, but wouldlike to” for all choices. MIT Libraries Fall 2011 Survey. 6,500 responses, 44% response rate
  30. 30. Expectations from non-academic e-reading - read anytime/anywhere - small, lightweight, carry many books with you - easy to get new books immediately - ability to sync between mobile devices & computers - zooming in to details of illustrations (iPad & other tablets) - even small screens can work for reading PDFs, thanks to apps like GoodReader
  31. 31. Popular workshop
  32. 32.
  33. 33. “Librarians must carve out new roles asadvocates of more usable digital collections” Char Booth, Univ. of California, Berkeley
  34. 34. What academic ebooks could be1. Solve user problems Convenience wins2. An ecosystem Fragmentation hurts3. Social context People count4. Take advantage ofthe medium Medium matters
  35. 35. It’s more than reading • pondering • thinking • taking notes • bookmarking • copying • quoting • defining words • underlining • highlighting • comparing with other text • skipping around • skimming • looking at photos • examining charts/graphs • citing • discussing
  36. 36. Convenience winsEasy annotationImproved ways to annotate digital documentsthat allow for either typing or handwriting in away that works easily and intuitively. GoodReaderiAnnotate PDF
  37. 37. 1 Convenience winsIntegration with citation toolsAllow for ease of saving and formattingcitations in formats required.
  38. 38. Convenience winsSolve user problemsContent is no longer just a product. It’s part of a value chain that solvesreaders’ problems. Readers expect publishers to point them to the outcomesor answers they want, where and when they want them.- Context, Not Containerby Brian O’Leary
  39. 39. Fragmentation hurtsDownload once, read anywhereAllows one to be “device-agnostic”... changeor upgrade device, keep your content.
  40. 40. Fragmentation hurtsDownload once,read anywhere
  41. 41. Fragmentation hurtsIntegration with cloud toolsAllows for easy organizing, saving, and movingcontent between devices and systems.
  42. 42. People countSocial features, discussionAllow for sharing of quotes and text snippets via email,Twitter, Google+, or other social media.
  43. 43. People countSocial features, discussion
  44. 44. People count
  45. 45. People count
  46. 46. Medium mattersText - also known as “formless” content
  47. 47. Medium mattersText + graphics, maps, diagrams- also known as “definite content”
  48. 48. Medium mattersFormless vs. Definite Content“.....definite content..... It may be reflowable, but dependingon how it is reflowed, inherent meaning and quality of thetext may shift.”— Books in the age of the iPadby Craig Mod
  49. 49. Medium mattersBetter ways to view illustrationsAllow for zooming in and out, with multi-touch gesturesfor very large, detailed images, maps, or diagrams.
  50. 50. Medium mattersLearn from designof comic appsauto-zoom to each panelWhat if zoomfeatures wereapplied toscholarlyillustrations?
  51. 51. Medium mattersThe Elements, iPad app3D images, rotation. Takes advantage ofmulti-touch & swipe.
  52. 52. Medium mattersPage turning metaphor“Take something as fundamental as pages, for example. Themetaphor of flipping pages already feels boring and forcedon the iPhone and on the iPad. The flow of content no longerhas to be chunked into “page”-sized bites.” - Books in the age of the iPad by Craig Mod
  53. 53. Medium matters“One simplistic reimagining of book layout would be to place chapters onthe horizontal plane, with content on a fluid vertical plane.” - Books in the age of the iPad by Craig Mod
  54. 54. Medium mattersLimitless space beyond the edges“In printed books, the two-page spread was our canvas. It’s easy to thinksimilarly about the iPad. Let’s not. The canvas of the iPad must be consideredin a way that acknowledges the physical boundaries of the device, while alsoembracing the effective limitlessness of space just beyond those edges.We’re going to see new forms of storytelling emerge from this canvas.”- Books in the age of the iPad by Craig Mod
  55. 55. Medium matters“The way we think about book, magazine, and newspaperpublishing is unduly governed by the physical containers we haveused for centuries to transmit information.”- Context, Not Containerby Brian O’Leary
  56. 56. Medium mattersDIY: create your own, mix/match“Many current audiences (and all future ones) live in an open andaccessible environment. They expect to be able to look under thehood, mix and match chunks of content, and create, seamlessly,something of their own. Failure to meet those needs will result inobscurity, at best.”- Context, Not Containerby Brian O’Leary
  57. 57. Medium mattersLibrarians & scholarly publishers- we want to offer the best- we want to innovate- we want to provide useful tools for scholarship and learning- we need more thoughtful analysis around DRM issues
  58. 58. Medium mattersDRM: Making informed decisionsMeanwhile, a growing number of mostly independent publishers are doingthe unthinkable: releasing ebooks without any form of copy restriction.Are these publishers completely oblivious to the obvious problem of digitalpiracy? Or are they taking a calculated risk that will ultimately benefittheir business?- Analyzing the business case for DRMby Kirk Biglione
  59. 59. A social bookContext, Not Container by Brian O’LearyBooks in the age of the iPad by Craig ModAnalyzing the business case for DRM by Kirk Biglione
  60. 60. What academic ebooks could be1. Solve user problems Convenience wins2. An ecosystem Fragmentation hurts3. Social context People count4. Take advantage ofthe medium Medium matters
  61. 61. Nicole