Steal This UX: Improving Your Collection With Content Strategy and User Research

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<p>PowerPoint Presentation</p> <p>Annabelle Mortensenamortensen@skokielibrary.info</p> <p>Stephanie Andersonsanderson@darienlibrary.orgSteal This UX: Improving Your Collection With Content Strategy and User Research</p> <p>I realize the title should have referred to user research, not testing. Tempted to change it for the program. </p> <p>I changed it! We can always say it was a little A/B testing on our part ;)1</p> <p>Agenda:Whats content strategy?Whats user research?UX tools for everyones arsenalPutting it all into practice</p> <p>-Service population: 65,000-Registered borrowers: 40,573-Circulation in 2015: 2.1 million</p> <p>I wonder if here, rather than the opening slide, would be a better place to talk about ourselves a bitwho we are and how we came to learn about this stuff.Annabelle: RA/reference lib who joined librarys web redesign and social media team as content strategy coordinator b/c of journalism background. At first it was scary and foreign. Once I learned more about user experience tools and put them into practice, I realized how applicable it is to other areas of library, although sadly most staff members dont know about it. Brought this UX mindset to collection development. One frigid Midwinter day began talking about this to Stephanie 3</p> <p>-Service population: 20,500-Registered borrowers: 21,621-Circulation in 2015: 611,004</p> <p>Great idea!Im the Assistant Director for Public Services at Darien Library, which is a library that has a UX department. One of my goals in my current position has been to try to make UX more accessible for everybodyas Annabelle and I discussed when we met last year, most people working on collection development (as well as public services) can learn a lot from UX, but the jargon and siloing in many libraries has made it hard for people to benefit from what is really, at its heart, just a set of tools. 4</p> <p>What is content strategyand why should I care?</p> <p>Excellent question! Content strategy definitely sounds more like something youd hear about in an article about Silicon Valley juicing start-ups and not at a public library conference.5</p> <p>The practice of planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content.--Kristina Halvorson</p> <p>Some libraries are beginning to rebrand collections as content. In the web world, this is the most common definition of content strategy, as defined by Halvorson, one of the pioneers in the discipline.</p> <p>6</p> <p>Content strategists select and organize content, making it findable and relevant for users. </p> <p>(Sound familiar?)</p> <p>So really, when we talk about content strategy, what were talking about is knowledgable people picking stuff, organizing it, and making it easy to find.7</p> <p>You know, sort of like our profession has been doing for centuries.</p> <p>https://www.flickr.com/photos/susannatron/44749686038</p> <p>Rather than our jobs becoming obsolete because of content strategy, they are in fact more important than ever!9</p> <p>Content strategy toolkit:-Creating alignment-Providing assessment-Developing strategy</p> <p>This is not a comprehensive list of all a content strategist does, but are some of the tools that are most useful10</p> <p>Creating alignment </p> <p>means: interviewing stakeholders, identifying goals, creating a common understanding</p> <p>like: ensuring staff is on board with the weeding plan, making displays based on holds lists</p> <p>This helps your get your bearings and identify everyones role in the process. It also means that your users have as good of a sense of your goals as your staff.11</p> <p>You dont want anybody to feel this way! Thats the role of content strategy.12</p> <p>Providing assessment </p> <p>means: examining existing content through audits</p> <p>like: evaluating circulation stats over time, comparing collection to similar libraries, reviewing booklists</p> <p>Ugh, audits! Just pretend that says circulation stats and it will make more sense.13</p> <p>Developing strategy </p> <p>means: turning ideas into direction, deciding how success is measured, planning for maintenance over time</p> <p>like: collection development policy changes, creating budgets in response to use patterns</p> <p>This includes figuring out what youre going to measure, why thats important (thanks to alignment and assessment phases), how youre going to do it, and how youll evaluate it over time. By addressing these issues, youll stay focused on patrons and hopefully wont waste your energy chasing useless objectives or data. 14</p> <p>What is user research and why should I care?</p> <p>Were using the terms user testing and research somewhat interchangeably here; testing is part of the umbrella of research.15</p> <p>In technology, research is meant to answer this question: How do people use something? --Nick Disabato</p> <p>Nick Disabato is a UX consultant (and library-school grad!) in Chicago16</p> <p>User research and testing helps minimize taking stabs in the dark.</p> <p>(And builds confidence!)</p> <p>If you work for a library, I am guessing you spend some of your time being like WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE and sometimes you might not even know whether you mean your co-workers or your patrons. User research combats that feeling and also means that you are working with facts, not emotions.17</p> <p>Tests help you move forward, question assumptions, learn from users, and then iterate. </p> <p>(Yes, iterate. Sound familiar?)</p> <p>We all carry assumptionswhy this genre circulates well but that one doesnt, why this years winter reading club had more participants than last year, etc.,but research helps you get more information to make better decisions. Then once you make a decision, keep getting information so you can continue refining and improving your work. The great thing about testing is that you usually dont need anything fancy or expensive. You just need to know what your questions are and figure out how youre going to test those questions to give you enough information to move forward. You also dont need a huge pool of participantsusually a few people can give you enough information to begin moving forward. Small, simple tests are always best.</p> <p>18</p> <p>(does this work you think?) UX aligns to basic tenets for collections &amp; RA--Ranganathans laws, Charlie Robinsons give em what they want etc.)</p> <p>19</p> <p>User testing toolkit:ObservationInterviewsA/B testingCard sortingAnalytics</p> <p>Again, not a comprehensive listthere are many other tools out there. But weve found this mix of both qualitative and quantitative tools most relevant to our work.20</p> <p>Observation </p> <p>means: observe people in context of usage</p> <p>like: watching a heavily browsed display or shelf to see what patrons pick up and what they take with them</p> <p>Yes, this can seem creepy. But it provides really helpful quantitative information.21</p> <p>Interviews </p> <p>means: actually talk to people! </p> <p>like: asking someone in the stacks how the library can make browsing easier, or developing a survey to learn where patrons get book recommendations</p> <p>Its important to ask the right questionsopen-ended, neutral, work best. There is a lot of good information on our reading list and elsewhere online about the right way to do interviews; for surveys Survey Monkeys site has some great articles on crafting useful surveys. Interestingly, many UX practitioners frown upon using focus groups. One-on-one is best. If its in person, good to have to interviewersone asking questions and the other observing and taking notes.22</p> <p>A/B testing </p> <p>means: creating multiple versions of a feature and showing each to different users to see which performs better</p> <p>like: creating two shelf labels for two sets of DVDs and asking patrons at the circ desk for their opinion on which is easier to read</p> <p>Card sorting </p> <p>means: to help structure information, ask users to put words in logical groups</p> <p>like: rather than renaming sections based on what staff calls them, asking a group of patrons to sort book titles into groups and seeing what happens</p> <p>Card sorts can be openwhere people sort and create their own categories, or closedwords are sorted into they categories theyve been given. This can be really great for figuring out wording for signage, location codes, and catalog verbiage24</p> <p>Analytics </p> <p>means: stats! </p> <p>like: How many patrons recommended a book to us this month? How many book groups did we host? How many patrons asked where the new DVDs are?</p> <p>We have a lot of these: circ, turnover, door count, reference questions, RA questions, etc. The key is to figure out how theyre usefulwhat information do they tell us? What questions to they trigger? What questions do they answer? Analytics also are a great tool for testing assumptions.</p> <p>25</p> <p>UX questions you can apply to anything:</p> <p>Who is this for?What problem does it solve for them?How do we know they need it?How do they access it?How can we test this?</p> <p>I keep a version of this taped above my desk.26</p> <p>Core UX ideas anyone can use in their work:</p> <p>Strive for alignment.Question your assumptions.Work small.Only research/test things that support specific decisions. People want what they want, not what you want.</p> <p>Some core CS/UX ideas to adopt: (Not sure if this should be at the end, or mentioned now and then recapped at the end).)Strive for alignment.(Not necessarily consensus, but common understanding within your organization)Question your assumptions.(Dont have evidence that validates what you just said/think? Then its an assumption. People LOVE having assumptions. )Work small.(Do just enough research. Keep tests small and feedback loops short. Tests need not be fancy; in fact, its best if they are fast and cheap. Just make sure you write a summary of what went down.)Only research/test things that support specific decisions. (Figure what it is you want to know and why, and test just that. Findings give you confidence in your decisions. And if findings are inconclusive, thats okay too. Make a decision and keep testing.)People want what they want, not what you want.</p> <p>27</p> <p>Okay, but what does this look like in real life?</p> <p>Popular Author Performance Summary (Fiction) Analytics in action! Also a good example of creating alignment</p> <p>29</p> <p>First in Series A/B testing example, observation/interviews as a secondary benefit30</p> <p>Hoopla circulations: Analytics + A/B testing (with patrons in mind!)31</p> <p>Collection Summit (creating organizational alignment in preparation of rehauling collection development plan)32</p> <p>Testing signage for new CDs (quick paper prototypes)33</p> <p>Testing new DVD labels (discussed options, made three prototypes, showed them to patrons and shelvers--have photo)Figuring out if we were buying enough DVDs and DVDs (tracking holds through spreadsheet)</p> <p>34</p> <p>Figuring out if we were buying enough DVDs and DVDs (tracking holds through spreadsheet)Also testing databases with users, although this has worked less well.</p> <p>35</p> <p>Recap!</p> <p>-Strive for alignment.-Question your assumptions.-Work small.-Only research/test things that support specific decisions. -Remember people want what they want, not what you want.</p> <p>When you begin looking at collections through this lens, youll start seeing a number of possible applications with displays, booklists, advisory questionnaires, summer-reading planning, patron-driven acquisition, and more. Its really about developing a user-centered mindset and learning about tools that can help you even further with that process. A lot of people working with collections and RA really want to try new things, but find themselves in a position or a department where they get some resistance to those new things. We are hoping weve given you the tools, the language, and the confidence to implement a lot of the cool new ideas youve picked up at the conference.</p> <p>36</p> <p>Just Enough Research by Erika Hall</p> <p>The Elements of Content Strategy by Erin Kissane</p> <p>Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience by Jeff Gothelf with Josh Seiden</p> <p>Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems by Steve Krug</p> <p>Read more </p> <p>Most of these resources focus on web UX, but they do a great job of discussing these tools in depth and will strengthen your understanding of user research. And even if you dont work on websites you visit them, and it will provide a really fascinating view at what bad websites and apps do wrong. Plus they are all short.37</p> <p>Useful, Usable, Desirable: Applying User Experience Design to Your Library by Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches</p> <p>UK Government Digital Service Design Principles: https://www.gov.uk/design-principles</p> <p>And more </p> <p>38</p> <p>Thank you!What questions do you have?</p> <p>Annabelle Mortensenamortensen@skokielibrary.info</p> <p>Stephanie Andersonsanderson@darienlibrary.orgSteal This UX: Improving Your Collection With Content Strategy and User Research</p> <p>I realize the title should have referred to user research, not testing. Tempted to change it for the program. </p> <p>I changed it! We can always say it was a little A/B testing on our part ;)40</p>