user expectations

A UX in Libraries Reading List

There's a new page in my navigation bar! UX is here.

Earlier in the month I called upon the ever-awesome network of twitter info pros to help me create a reading list to introduce someone to UX in Libraries - the part of User Experience focusing on ethnography and physical spaces rather than primarily on the online experience.

UX is a growing area but lots of people are still unfamiliar with it, so the aim of the list is to take a structured approach to introducing the topic, taking someone from a fairly straightforward definition right through to books, blogposts, presentations and journal articles that go into a lot of detail.

Lots of people came back with great suggestions and I said I'd make the list publicly available upon completion, so here it is. When you're looking for UX literature there's obviously a huge amount on website UX, so it's nice to have a concentrated list that's just about the library context.

UX in Libraries Resource List: A Structured Introduction to UX and Ethnography.

If you're wondering about tweeting a link to this blogpost you can use the sharing button at the bottom of the post, or you can use this one to tweet a link directly to the reading list itself instead if you'd prefer!

I created this primarily for the UX Intern about to start work at York for six weeks, who I'll be managing. I'm very excited about this - it's such a great opportunity to hit the ground running with some ethnography, and turn the ideas from the UXLibs conference into results for our own institution. The intern starts in August - I'll blog about how that all goes at a later date.

If you can think of a way to improve this reading list, please let me know! I've created a copy for our intern which I'll leave alone for the moment, so this public version can be amdended to and added to as much as people feel would be useful. I'm particularly keen on additions that you have specifically read / watched / viewed and found helpful, rather than 'I've heard this is good' type suggestions which might end up making the list too long and unwiedly...

Libraries and Alignment - it's vital, vital, vital


Moon and Sun aligned

Seth Godin (remember him?) has just written a blog post about alignment. It's well worth a look.

Alignment is very important to libraries (the SLA are devoting lots of resources to this subject). In particular we need to spend more time ensuring we align our language with those of our stakeholders - and that may mean seperate language for our customers, and for those who hold our purse-strings. So we must promote our services to customers in terms they understand and relate to, and we must demonstrate our value to internal stakeholders by using their language, their terminology, and by focusing on factors they see as vital for measuring success as well as the ones we traditionally use.

(This is a tricky issue because, for example, if the big bosses still see footfall as a good measure of a library's use then we have to balance the need to align our idea of success, with the need to educate them as to why footfall as a metric for library use is hopelessly outdated and no longer fit for purpose.)

Seth's post is about the alignment of expectations and, particularly interestingly for me, the negative aspects users will put up with if those expectations are met. Here's a quote:

The Walmart relationship: I want the cheapest possible prices and Walmart wants to (actually works hard to) give me the cheapest possible prices. That's why there's little pushback about customer service or employee respect... the goals are aligned.

The Apple relationship: I want Apple to be cool. Apple wants to be cool. That's why there's little pushback on pricing or obsolence or disappointing developers.

The search engine relationship (when it's working): I want to find what I'm looking for. You want me to find what I'm looking for, regardless of the short-term income possibilities.

Compare these to the ultimately doomed relationships (if not doomed, then tense) in which goals don't align, relationships where the brand took advantage of an opening but then grows out of the initial deal and wants to change it:

The Dell relationship: I want a cheap, boring, reliable computer. You want to make more profit.

The hip designer relationship: I want the new thing no one else has yet. You want to be around for years.

The search engine relationship (when it doesn't work): I want to find what I'm looking for. You want to distract me and take money to send me places I actually don't want to go.

The typical media relationship: I want to see the shows, you want to interrupt with ads.

Alignment isn't something you say. It's something you do. Alignment is demonstrated when you make the tough calls, when you see if the thing that matters the most to you is also the thing that matters the most to the other person.

So - you can guess where I'm going with this. What is the library relationship now, what should it be, and what will users put up with (with very little 'pushback') if their expectations are met? Think of this as an open thread - I'd be really interested to hear your views in the comments.

- thewikiman