Takeaways from UX Show and Tell

Oh dear, I’ve done it again; neglected the blog. Never mind, let’s try again.

So it appears attempting to spend time reflecting on an event and then writing up about it just doesn’t work for me (at least not at the moment). So I’m trying another tactic and throwing out a first impressions list of key points from an event I attended today.

I discovered at 10.30am this morning via Twitter that a UX show and tell event for librarians was happening in Cambridge this afternoon. I didn’t have anything in my calendar and this is a topic I’m particularly interested in so, after checking non-university librarians were welcome, I went. I’m not known for spontaneity, but I’m very glad I decided to go!

So, my thoughts:

  • There’s been lots of UX research going on in Cambridge libraries recently. I kind of knew this as I’d heard about the Protolib project going on at the moment, but I didn’t know any details.
  • Nobody regretted doing the research they had done. Although, I suppose if they had regretted doing it, they possibly wouldn’t have wanted to talk about it at this event.
  • Generally, post-it notes and approaching people in person seemed to be the most successful ways of recruiting participants. I found this too in the UX research I did for my MA dissertation.
  • A few libraries had tried the Love letter / Break-up letter method. For some it worked brilliantly, for others it was a flop. Why? Don’t know.
  • Getting students to engage in photo-based methods was unsuccessful for the two libraries which tried this. Why? Again, don’t know.
  • One study found that what people already in a space were doing defined how someone coming into that space felt they could behave. This brought up the question of whether we should clearly signpost the intented purpose of a space or just let users choose what they want to do in that space. The answer given was see what they’re doing and then signpost, which seems reasonable to me.
  • In another study it was found that the users really liked the “open privacy” of the space and being surrounded by print books, even if they were using online resources. This library has alternating desks and book stacks in the main reading room.
  • It can be really hard to leave your preconceptions behind you when conducting a touchstone tour of a space you know well (i.e. your own library!)
  • The ethnographic approach can be addictive and can pull you down lots of different paths. Try to stay focussed on your research question – you could always conduct another study if something really interesting crops up.

Thank you very much to all the speakers and organisers for putting together this event. It was a very interesting and useful afternoon.


5 highlights from Internet Librarian International 2015

1. Data visualisation

2. Apps in the Library

3. Thinking playfully

4. Ethnographic research in the library

5. Altmetrics