Library UX Community Forums Generally Speaking Where user and librarian expectations collide.

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    John Laskowski

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the point of conflict were the feedback from users and the strategic direction of the library meet. Working in the library at a research-based university, you can imagine information literacy and empowering our users to unlock the full potential of the library is a big deal. On the other hand, recently in a focus group I asked a student to give me her first thoughts on our new homepage design; and as I handed her the mouse she commented, “Oh, I wouldn’t scroll.”

    Have you ever run into a situation like this? As a librarian (and father), I wanted to tell her “oh, you’re going to scroll, young lady!” As the UX specialist, I immediately started mentally wireframing a site in which everything is immediately visible but “has plenty of white space.”

    Where is that point of conflict for you? Does it differ based on the type of library as well as the service/space/collection/etc. you’re studying? What do you think? What have you experienced?

    It’s also brought me to another point of interest I’m hoping to explore more thoroughly while running UX studies in the spring semester: How often does a user’s level of satisfaction with a library interaction correlate directly or inversely with what library staff would consider the “proper” process for that library

    Is it more important to facilitate a satisfactory user experience than it is to connect the user with the “right” interaction? What do you think?


    Such good questions! I’ve recently been thinking that UX begins with user expectation – how someone thinks something ought to work – and then moves toward whatever we can do to make things work to meet those expectations.

    UX studies can let us know about many expectations, but not all are knowable and even if they are sometimes knowable, there may be reasons why, gasp, there are excellent reasons not to meet the them. (At least in every instance. Such as no scrolling. Ever.)

    I find myself thinking often about the friction between the way things work in the moment, the way we’d like them to work, what can be learned by the pain points and how many pain points could we and should we remove?

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