I just finished a new book — a book that has real importance for libraries in the 21st century, especially libraries looking to redesign their space or their online presence.
The book is Useful, Usable, Desirable by Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches, and it seeks to demystify the concept of UX for libraries. For the many of us who don’t know what UX means (I was one until recently), it’s a hip semi-acronym for User Experience. UX is all about designing from the point of view of the user, rather than the designer, or the administrator or the accountant. It’s putting yourself in the shoes of your user — remembering what it’s like to walk in the door and not know where to go or how to do the thing you came to do.
Don’t worry. You don’t need to wear a black turtleneck and square glasses to be a designer. Whether you like it or not, every time your create a library policy, bookmark, or service, you’re making a design decision. Think of design this way: arranging elements to serve a certain purpose. Many design decisions in libraries are what we like to call unintentional design or design by default. This book will get you in the mode of making deliberate decisions. (p.7)
There are chapters on physical space, service points, policies, signage, and online presence, and the focus is to bring customer service into every aspect of library life. We have the book in the MBLC professional collection, and it’s definitely worth a read.
Another new resource for UX in libraries is Design Thinking for Libraries: A Toolkit for Patron-Centered Design. This is a set of resources by the folks who did Design Thinking for Educators, and it outlines a step-by-step process that can help you bring a whole new outlook to the way you work.
This post was written by Lauren Stara on February 23, 2015