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Empowering librarianship through ux and ethnography

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Talk about UX and the work that has been done at Cambridge Judge Business School. Presented at Internet Librarian International 2015.

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Empowering librarianship through ux and ethnography

  1. 1. Empowering librarianship through UX and ethnography Georgina Cronin Acting Deputy Information and Library Services Manager University of Cambridge Judge Business School @senorcthulhu https://www.flickr.com/photos/34323101@N00/5937960500
  2. 2. What is ethnography? The systematic study of people and cultures where the researcher observes society from the point of view of the subject of the study https://www.flickr.com/photos/129082931@N07/17202314935
  3. 3. How does this fit in with user experience? • Seeing the experience from the user’s perspective • Appreciating the significance of different cultures and styles • Removing potential bias and judgment • Understanding motivations behind actions • See where routines fall apart • Observe hidden behaviours • Apply responsive fixes and corrections to systems that are failing • Truly embrace the user’s individual experience https://www.flickr.com/photos/62752875@N00/51661353
  4. 4. And what about librarianship? • We can better understand our users • Appropriately tailor services to individuals according to their needs • Be flexible and responsive • Provide some degree of resilience to change • Adapt and innovate to respond to varied demands • Respond to attempts to cut budget with user-based evidence • Better ourselves as professionals • Boost the knowledge of our profession https://www.flickr.com/photos/43927576@N00/3982067599
  5. 5. Real life examples… …from Cambridge Judge Business School
  6. 6. Behavioural mapping Allows researchers to document and track user movements and activities within a designed space https://www.flickr.com/photos/anne-ostsee/15093457326/
  7. 7. Desire lines Adapted from: http://www.customfitonline.com/news/2015/4/10/design-vs-ux-build-what-people-use/
  8. 8. Findings • Many users enter through the ground floor entrance and walk straight up to the first floor working areas • Users are often quieter the fuller the space is and become more irritated by noise. This irritation is not present when the space is emptier • There is huge variation in duration of stay and use of resources (or lack thereof) https://www.flickr.com/photos/wooandy/5160377937
  9. 9. Solutions • Reassessed promotional materials to be positioned more appropriately. Also enabled first floor access to students • Reduction of staff noise – holding 1-2-1 meetings elsewhere and sending big print jobs to other machines in the building. Plus adjusting door closings had a huge impact • Provide more varied seating and furniture options. Not taking any biases about device use into future planning of space https://www.flickr.com/photos/44124479650@N01/5851371290
  10. 10. Touchstone tour – Show me round Designed as conversation that uses artefacts and the environment as touchstones for questions and insights
  11. 11. Findings • Users invent really complicated workarounds to simple tasks and are failing to access key services (wifi, printing, databases) as a result • A lot of users had some very set ideas of what made a good workspace to them • Users did not like our kiosk terminals which we had developed to be flexible. They found them to be a barrier https://www.flickr.com/photos/10257668@N04/5392945979
  12. 12. Solutions • Staggering offering of key information throughout year rather than all at once in inductions. Also, more joined-up working with other departments • More space and variety of spaces for different student needs and preferences for working. Understanding of our two tribes – the ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’ people • Coming to terms with the kiosk PC unpopularity and changing it for something more appropriate https://www.flickr.com/photos/21973119@N00/4999290621
  13. 13. Cognitive mapping Participants were invited to draw a map of their research and learning landscape https://www.flickr.com/photos/hanspoldoja/5001818922
  14. 14. Image of cognitive maps removed for ethical reasons
  15. 15. Findings • Many faculty members did not use physical libraries, while students used a range of library spaces for different purposes • Almost all of the participants drew bedrooms as a key study area • Many participants indicated that they were regularly on the move and using a variety of spaces and tools to gain varying degrees of concentration/distraction https://www.flickr.com/photos/39415781@N06/5765729307
  16. 16. Solutions • Faculty members needed more 1-2-1 specialist support, especially with mobile working and storage options • Rather than selling our service as the centre of students’ lives, we recognise that we are one of many services and spaces that they will use…and that that’s ok • The variety of working methods (on site and remote) emphasises the need for our services to be as seamless and reliable as possible, regardless of physical location https://www.flickr.com/photos/94323057@N00/6341249764
  17. 17. Combining findings together • Each discreet project had its own findings • Combining these findings with other projects increased knowledge • Patterns and trends were identified • Some of these same patterns and trends were confirmed and corroborated by parallel projects • They altered (sometimes quite dramatically) staff bias and subsequent assumptions about user behaviour • Simple solutions were implemented quickly; longer solutions have been put into future planning strategies https://www.flickr.com/photos/123619100@N07/13945229459
  18. 18. So what has it taught us? • We understand our users far better than we thought we already did • We are more confident in the stuff that we did right • But we are more critical over the things that we missed • We stop ourselves more often when making decisions without any evidence to support them • We accept that we will not know everything about a user • We also accept that they will not always (if ever) tell us what is really going on • We can always improve and innovate established services https://www.flickr.com/photos/73645804@N00/5812973515
  19. 19. So, what’s next? http://www.flickr.com/photos/83346641@N00/4338199567
  20. 20. What’s in your bag? https://www.flickr.com/photos/33544100@N00/2886821379
  21. 21. ‘The ethnographer enters the field with an open mind, not an empty head’ David Fetterman in Ethnography Step by Step https://www.flickr.com/photos/cuppini/14488679251

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