NASIG 2019 has ended
Back To Schedule
Friday, June 7 • 10:45am - 11:45am
Usability Beyond the Home Page: Bringing Usability into the Technical Services Workflow

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

Usability and user experience research methodology, usually defined as a group of techniques that seek to “gain a deep understanding of users, what they need, what they value and their limitations” (usability.gov) has been applied in libraries regularly to websites and public services. Common techniques include more traditional information gathering practices, like focus groups and one-one-one interview sessions to examine patron experiences, as well as observation of patrons attempting to perform tasks using a specific tool or service. Yet, outside of some usability studies comparing commercial discovery systems, little information exists in the literature about acquisitions, collections, or electronic resource management librarians using such techniques for their own work. In this presentation, I will use my work at the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s library as a case study to demonstrate how to implement these techniques to solve common problems for technical services, such as improving access and discoverability of library resources.
At UNCG, user experience studies have been scattered across departments. In order to both have a seat at the table and remove duplication of effort, I cultivated a partnership with our web services librarian and our distance education librarian, both who had been involved with user experience projects in the past. Together, we set up the first user experience team at UNCG, which focused equally on public and technical service issues. I will discuss techniques that I used to build these relationships and share our strategies for selecting initial projects that create the greatest library buy-in. Attendees should leave this session ready to look for their own User Experience partners in their library.

The second part of this presentation will discuss two case studies that demonstrate specific common user experience techniques and how they can be implemented to improve resource discovery and collection development. Attendees will learn about conducting simple five minute usability tests and longer focus group interviews. Our User Experience team has used the first technique, in which patrons performed a small series of pre-written tasks on a particular site and then answered questions about this experience, to redesign our Database A-Z page and our libguides Tests were low prep, conducted over a lunch hour in the main foyer of our library and drew an excellent patron sample. For the second technique, we conducted three focus groups with faculty who, according to emails or syllabi, have used our streaming media collections in their classroom. Our goals here were to learn more about what they value about streaming media, where they struggle in locating and using it, and to identify potential gaps in our marketing of collections. This presentation will discuss results in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the techniques, but the main focus will be to teach these two techniques and give participants the ability to go back to their library and begin to find answers to their own pressing patron-based questions.

avatar for Kate Hill

Kate Hill

Library Services Engineer, EBSCO

Friday June 7, 2019 10:45am - 11:45am EDT
Grand Ballroom - 17th Floor