UX Teams

UX in libraries is gaining in strength. The user experience deserves our attention.  My title changed last December, when I went from being one of three science librarians, to a solo UX librarian. Solo UX work is not uncommon–Leah Buley markets her UX Team of One quite well.  But it is hard, and now libraries have had a taste for it, the roles are expanding.

MIT Libraries just planned and designed a new User Experience Group. The purpose of their group is, “to create a holistic,  user-centered, innovative approach to service design for both virtual and physical spaces, based on quantitative and qualitative assessment data that focuses on user needs.”  Perfect! UX is not only about digital space. Teams can focus on digital, and physical space, and all the hundreds of little details that go into making libraries fantastic places.

MIT  helped transition staff to new roles, which include: user needs assessments, usability testing, gathering and interpreting statistics, virtual sites design and production (web and mobile), embedding content outside of their own systems (in Flickr, Google Scholar, course management systems, etc.), public space design and programming, marketing and communication. A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education talks about their project to create a final resting place for failed tools, called the Beta Graveyard.

The times that we are living in call for creative ways to do things that we might not have done otherwise. We need to look at new needs and new ways to become the libraries of the future. And new ways that teams can carry out our user’s dreams.

About effervescentlibrarian

UX Librarian at Rice University, Houston, Texas.
This entry was posted in Libraries, ux. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to UX Teams

  1. report from the heartland says:

    I hate to be a buzzkill, but this phrase reminds me of the redundant phrases “critical thinking” and “evidenced-based medicine.” Aren’t all libraries supposed to be about user experience? Maybe I haven’t read enough about this but I wouldn’t have a job if I didn’t have users and they wouldn’t come to me if I didn’t put them first. What in the world would I put first as a librarian?

  2. effervescentlibrarian says:

    Absolutely, all libraries should be about user experience! UX is more than just caring about users, or putting them first. That is extremely important, of course, but not the only thing. UX, and user-centered design, is about putting them first, in the middle, and in the end! We build things for them, we get feedback from them throughout the process, we remember what it is to be a user, and we remember that providing a great user experience is an ongoing process! Surveys, ethnographic studies, and usability studies are the tools that provide information to us to keep building great things that serve their needs. But it is not only a great digital experience we are after; we can design great physical libraries too!

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