Thinking about UX in my past

I recently told a librarian that I was doing more with a UX hat on these days. She said, “What’s new about that? Libraries have always done UX.” So, I have been thinking about when I first started incorporating the tools of UX into my life.

The first evidence I can find is in 2004. RedLightGreen, a research tool from RLG came out, and RLG wanted testing done on it. They provided a great research instrument, and also, some guidance into how to do a research study. My fantastic colleague, Lisa Spiro, and I set to work. We tweaked the instrument a bit, went to our IRB board for their blessing, and then rounded up the students. We wrote a little report about it afterwards.  Seriously, this is the first time that I ever remember doing or hearing about usability by anyone working close to me.

I wish I had learned about it sooner. I didn’t learn about it in library school. I didn’t know about it when I was the webmaster for a county library system from 1997 to 2000. Back in those days my attitude was, “I will build it, and then they can see what I did, and I am sure they are going to love it.”

I am glad that RLG came knocking, and wanted to partner with us to help us learn more about our users, and in turn, help RLG learn more about what they wanted to offer. (Note:In June 2006, RLG merged with OCLC)

So, I am excited to see the librarianship profession embracing the concept of UX now.

My next few posts are going to be about my personal journey into the land of UX. I would love to hear your comments, or tidbits about your own journey!

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About effervescentlibrarian

UX Librarian at Rice University, Houston, Texas.
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