User Research in Support of User Research


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Presentation at Internet Librarian 2012 on user research done at the University of Guelph on faculty/research use of Virtual Research Environments.

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  • something else we learned... \n\nOne of the constant complaints we heard was the need to remember multiple logins and passwords, \nespecially when creating several accounts for a product like Dropbox \nwhich they did to avoid paying for extra storage space!\n\nthat was a huge annoyance we heard about a lot.\n\n
  • One of the biggest concerns we heard was about document naming conventions and version control.\n\ninterestingly, There was a general understanding \nthat version control is a human problem \nnot a technology or application or platform issue\nand as a human problem,\nit can’t readily be addressed by computers. \n\nThey told us that the only real way to address the problem \nis if everyone agrees to naming conventions and sticks to them. \none researcher told us: \n“Version management is something \nthat people have to deal with in their own heads. \nThe way our group deals with it \nis at staff meetings \nWHERE I YELL AT PEOPLE.” \n\n
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  • so, our conclusions and recommendations\n
  • first of all, don’t use the term VRE because no one understands it.\n\neven though these same researchers use the term VLE or virtual learning environment to refer to the course management software.\n
  • first of all, don’t use the term VRE because no one understands it.\n\neven though these same researchers use the term VLE or virtual learning environment to refer to the course management software.\n
  • another recommendation?\n\nthe notion that there should be ONE tool to meet all the collaboration needs of researchers\nmaybe has to be rethought\n\nthe researchers we spoke to are using a multiplicity of open tools \nand didn’t necessarily see a need to bring everything together in one place. \n\nFor example, we spoke to a couple of researchers who used \nGoogle Docs for shared authoring, \nEvernote for field notes\nIlluminate for virtual meetings, \nlocal databases to store confidential data, \nthe library’s institutional repository for large multimedia files, \nemail to share other files\nEventbrite, Whenisgood and Doodle for scheduling, \nand\nSkype for free long distance calls.\n
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  • Another conclusion we made is that there is no one-size-fits-all tool.\n\nThere are no discernable differences or unique trends of tool use or practices by discipline\n\nwe heard similar concerns across the board. \n\nresearchers told us, almost unanimously, that no one tool will meet all needs\n—everyone will use whatever they find easiest and what they prefer. \n\nso there really is No point shoehorning everyone into one product or application or platform\n\n
  • we also heard general Frustration with the lack of good online conferencing options.\n\nand that Face to face is still valued and considered the best option if available\n
  • we learned that sharepoint?\n\nCLICK\n\nis a non-starter as a research support platform. it just isn’t functional for those purposes.\n\nIn short, can’t perceive a way Sharepoint (or even another VRE) is going to solve researchers’ problems or even be desirable. They are finding and using free, easy to use tools online. “The library should make these things known to us because they are free and easy. In terms of having it all integrated – I really don’t know. My gut reaction would be that it’s probably very difficult to do that and the needs and requirements of people are all different. So creating a software tool that does all these things would be hard for a university to do. It will probably never work as well as something that’s premade and already out there. But it if works and works with your central login, that would be amazing. But I can’t see it happening.”\n\n
  • related to that, though, we did learn that researchers were generally supportive \n\nof the possibility of having a platform that they could log into with their campus login\n\nthe whole password issue was pretty frustrating for everyone, which is interesting. \nso they liked the idea of using tools that used their campus ID, but they unanimously told us that sharepoint wasn’t that tool.\n
  • another conclusion? Campus IT is largely viewed as a hurdle they have to jump over.\n\nwhen it comes to technology, faculty want to be as self-reliant as possible.\n\nwe heard some negative views of campus IT\n\nthings like:\n- don’t know how to use various campus tech\n- they had poor relations with campus IT\n- they preferred to be independent\n- they felt they were responsible as researchers to be independent\n- they felt IT support isn’t good on campus... someone actually said “Commercial systems are good because they are free, simple, and allow you to circumvent campus IT restrictions.”\n\nIn short, faculty are puzzled and beleaguered by campus IT. \nThey see it as an expense or an obstacle or a mystery or a provider of poor technology. \n\ninterestingly, they seemed not to have the same negative opinion of the library! \nthere’s still a lot of goodwill there\nbut we felt that the whole campus IT thing is an important cautionary tale for us.\n
  • And lastly, a number of faculty members told us that they saw the library’s role as one of informant in a way...\nthey just wanted us to make them aware of platforms and tools and options, \nthey want us to educate them on what’s available, \nnot necessarily support or host just one tool\n\nin the course of our interviews, we also uncovered some issues we’d have to keep in mind if we did continue to support sharepoint (heaven forbid) or any other VRE:\n\nsome of these issues include:\n\n-if researchers break copyright by sharing articles online, what’s the library’s liability?\n-will the VRE be able to incorporate very specialized software some researchers need to use for illustrations, diagrams, equations\n-will the VRE be able to address concerns with sharing primary data even within a research group if it’s research in progress\n-will it allow researchers to be self reliant?\n-will it be intuitive?\n- will we be able to continue to provide support in a way that will keep them happy? \n(we Don’t want to have them feel about Library as they feel about campus IT!)\n\n
  • i’m going to stop there!\n\nthanks for your attention, and hopefully we’ll have some time for questions at the end of the session.\n
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  • User Research in Support of User Research

    1. 1. user researchin support ofuser researchRobin BergartAmanda EtchesUniversity of Guelph
    2. 2. University of Guelph
    3. 3. the study
    4. 4. tell us about a researchcollaboration
    5. 5. tell us about the tools you use
    6. 6. tell us what you knowabout VREs
    7. 7. what welearned
    8. 8. fre ei sg oo d
    9. 9. security? schmecurity!
    10. 10. ugh, passwords
    11. 11. versioncontrol is HARD
    12. 12. no oneknows what a VRE is
    13. 13. SHAREPOINT
    14. 14. conclusions
    15. 15. VRE(the term, not the concept)
    16. 16. VRE(the term, not the concept)
    17. 17. no ONE tool
    18. 18. INBOXRe: Email is king
    19. 19. EASY
    20. 20. onesizedoes not fit all
    21. 21. facetime is tops
    22. 22. SHAREPOINT
    23. 23. SHAREPOINT
    24. 24. campus login
    25. 25. CAMPUS I.T.? HURDLE :(
    26. 26. THIS!
    27. 27. thanks!
    28. 28. 1.Study: 5041158108/2.Free stamp: 770416963/3.Chain link: 5596167074/4.Maze: 54007107245.Cable confusion: emagic/51069522/6.Cells: 6141273215 CREDITS