Tell us about how you integrate UX, assessment and/or design thinking in your work.
We are lucky enough to have a full-time User Experience Librarian on our team. With her help, we take my HTML design mockups and test them with patrons. The results from her testing are then assessed and used to update the mockups. After getting approval from the responsible Task Group, the mockups are handed-off to the developers to code. Since my mockups are created with html and Sass, my front-end code is easily transferred into production. This workflow allows us to test new layouts and features while they are still malleable and “inexpensive” to change. Since the mockups look like “the real thing” they also create a more realistic item to test with.
Do you have a specific project you would like to share?
We recently updated how our patrons request Interlibrary Loan/UBorrow/BorrowDirect materials. In the past when a patron wanted a book that we didn’t own, we asked them to make a choice as to which of the three services to get the item from. This meant that they had to go through each service themselves until they found the item they wanted. With the upgraded service, this choice is made on the backend. The patron just makes a request with a link from either WorldCat or our Catalog, and the materials show up in a few days. This project incorporated testing that was done years previously when we were first considering how we could improve upon our requesting services. This previous data informed the new user interface testing and was reiterated in the final report. I appreciated that we were able to dig into past testing and reuse that valuable data to inform our preliminary layouts and items to test with users.
What have you read lately?
My reading list has been eclectic lately, mainly because I am in a book club with two other coworkers. Every year, we choose a reading list to select books from and read one book a month from that list. (This year we are reading from The Lady Library curated by The Strand.) We get together over a lunch to discuss the book and decide on the next one to read. I would highly recommend starting a book club with coworkers; it is a great way to have an outside of work activity with your team and forces you to take at least one break a month to focus on non-work topics.
What tools or methods have made the most difference in your work and why?
My new favorite tool is one for project management rather than something UX specific. Since my job has me working on projects from different Library departments, I need a way to show how “expensive” a project was or that I am staying within the estimated hours. The web app Toggl has helped me easily track my hours by project and department. With this data, I can help prioritize upcoming feature requests or projects. My project manager uses this data to create a project plan for the quarter so that our team, and administration, has a general idea of the projects and features we will be releasing that quarter.
How has Library UX Chicago helped you?
Library UX Chicago has connected me with like-minded peers that I enjoy talking and seeing at each meetup. I appreciate the variety of topics covered and that different expertise levels are represented. It has also given me a platform to discuss and present projects I’ve worked on or are still working on. Additionally, as a presenter and an audience member, Library UX Chicago holds a space for me to talk about project failings or hang-ups without judgement (and sometimes I even get recommendations or solutions).