UX at York: project overviews
I'll go into more detail in subsequent posts but here's an introduction to each project.
- Project 1: Summer UX. This was a 2 month project with the aim of building a UX Toolkit - essentially understanding the UX techniques and methodologies in a York context, see how they worked, what we could learn etc. We had an intern working part-time during the 2 months, and we used 5 ethnographic techniques across a total of 25 participants. These were all Postgraduates, both PGRs and PGTs, from a mix of disciplines.
- Project 2: PGR-UX. The second project also featured an intern, and was more focused - we spoke to fewer people, and the participants were all Research PGs. We targeted people from specific departments, and really only used three of the ethnographic techniques.
- Project 3: Understanding Academics. This project is absolutely huge and still on-going. It involves everyone in Academic Liaison, will last several months, and involves academics from every single Department at York. We have spoken to around 100 people in total for this, and used two ethnographic techniques. The analysis has just started.
The key to our approach at York has been to try and integrate ethnography into our regular routine right from the start, rather than having a little UX silo where UX projects happen in isolation. We now try and utilise UX wherever appropriate in the Library, although quite honestly we've been better at embedding the ethnography than we have at the design-thinking / human-centred design aspect that completes (or continues) the UX-cycle, but that side of things is coming. We aim to consistently supplement our existing data collection methods with a nuanced UX approach, and because of the amount of work involved in ethnography and the sheer amount of time it takes, we target specific groups and areas we want to know more about and use ethnographic techniques with them. Each time we do, we learn more about that group of users then we've ever known about a group of users before. It's fantastic.
The five of us who attended UXLibs set ourselves up as available to be brought in on any wider projects happening in the library, to provide advice and guidance of if, where and how ethnography might be useful. So although the first project listed above, Summer UX, was primarily a way to try out UX in a York context, the subsequent two have been existing projects which have been deemed suitable for ethnographic input, and we've been brought in to advise on how best to go about it.
Next time will be the first guest post in a very long while on this blog - our first ever UX Intern, Emma Grey, has written about her experiences working with us when completely new to both libraries and User Experience, and the five ethnographic techniques she employed, including how she refined them as she went along.