A Review of “User Experience (UX) Design for Libraries”

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  • This article was downloaded by: [University of Liverpool]On: 07 October 2014, At: 10:54Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Journal of Electronic ResourcesLibrarianshipPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wacq20

    A Review of User Experience (UX)Design for LibrariesHope Leman aa Center for Health Research and Quality, Samaritan HealthServices , Corvallis , ORPublished online: 06 Dec 2012.

    To cite this article: Hope Leman (2012) A Review of User Experience (UX) Design for Libraries,Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 24:4, 335-336, DOI: 10.1080/1941126X.2012.732860

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1941126X.2012.732860

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  • REVIEWS 335

    offering tips about using the library space in Foursquare; and getting library patrons to act as advocates for your library by encouraging them to leave

    tips also.

    The author also discusses some technologies that one may not immediately think of whentalking about location-aware tools, such as the use of augmented reality software to createlayers of information accessible via mobile devices and the implementation of mobilepayment services such as Google Wallet.

    For each technology discussed in the book, the author covers specifics about andmajor resources within the technology, software functions and features, uses and benefits,potential drawbacks and areas of concern, the culture that surrounds the use of the tool,how to use the tool to connect with patrons, and opportunities for libraries. He describesthe unique details that help librarians planning to implement these tools make informeddecisions, such as how to claim your librarys Foursquare account if someone else set it upfirst and why it is important to do that. He also looks at the impact on staffing, management,and workflows that comes with implementing any of these tools. The author acknowledgesthat the hardest part to getting started with location-aware services and QR codes involvesovercoming the fear of failure through advocacy, gaining buy-in with management, andinternal marketing. As with many new technology initiatives in libraries, marketing tolibrary staff and patrons is the key to success, but equally important is understanding thepatron side of what it means to engage with a library through the use of these tools.

    The author wraps up the book with a discussion of best practices to ensure long-termsuccess, and metrics that help librarians assess their methods and plan for the future. Thevery last chapter looks at developing trends. Of course, change is constant with these tools,and it is important to stay current. Readers should think of this book as an excellent placeto get started in learning about these tools. I highly recommend this book for librarianswho want to learn more about this technologyhow it works and how to successfullyimplement a project using these toolsfor library school students who want to be preparedfor using this technology on the job, and for library administrators who want to makeinformed decisions about the use of these tools in their libraries.

    Denise OSheaMontclair State University LibraryMontclair, NJ

    Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches. 2012. User Experience (UX) Design for Libraries.Chicago, IL: ALA Techsource (The Tech Set, 18). 128 PP. ISBN: 9781555707811. Listprice $59.95.

    Rather ironically for a book about the world of the web, this book is a delightfully well-produced physical object. Not too surprising, though, given that the publisher, ALA Tech-Source, is an imprint of the American Library Association. One would expect the ALA toproduce books that are a pleasure to behold and page through. This really is an elegant littletext. And well it might be, given it is all about user experience. So far, so good then.

    This reviewer often starts evaluating a book for a review by examining the index.These days, a reader is lucky if there is an index at all. In this case, the index is superband, given the many times those of us in web services have had to rethink and then revampour creations, the entry Redesign, website was particularly welcomeand possessed

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  • 336 REVIEWS

    admirable specificity (e.g., A/B test, library users and, marketing, planning, testing for,transition). The entries for Testing and Surveys are likewise excellent.

    The only major disappointment in the book is that the section Create a MobileWebsite seems to have been tacked on at the end. However, that is probably because itis early days for mobile websites, and that subject may have to be addressed in a year ortwo. The authors say that the mobile computing revolution will probably result not only ina boom in mobile web sites but in sleeker, smaller web sites in general, which is rather apity or long overdue, depending on your tastes.

    Strangely, there is a perfunctory section on mobile sites in the middle of the BestPractices chapter. The editors would have done well to have thought more carefully aboutthe books organization vis-a-vis mobile matters.

    Speaking of perfunctory, the authors give short shrift to the matter of internal search onwebsites, giving it all of two pages in the Best Practices chapter. That is odd, consideringhow much space is devoted in articles about library websites to the difficulties patrons havein finding what they need and how often usability studies indicate how flummoxed usersoften are by library website user interfaces.

    Indeed, one of the most common criticisms of library websites is that librarians oftenassume that the sites are much more user-friendly than they really are. Librarians tend toassume that everything is hunky-dory without any actual basis for this belief. When askedabout a library website, patrons often indicate that they rarely use it or find the experiencefrustrating. That is why this entire book is valuable and why the Metrics chapter isespecially so. The authors make the important point that those who design and maintainretail websites have fairly straightforward ways of measuring its success: Did people makepurchases on the site? By contrast, as the authors say, There is no discernible conversionrate for library websites. They also provide pointers on how to get users to look at contentlibrarians consider important (repositioning it, relabeling it, increasing the number of accesspoints and links to it). Interestingly, they do not suggest giving up entirely on what may bedud content, which might sometimes be best.

    Who would find this book most useful? Answer: librarians in large academic librariesand, to a lesser extent, large public ones. The teams and roles described seem huge to thoseof who us who work solo or with one or two colleagues. Those new to web design willprobably most benefit from the Implementation chapter with its discussion of card sortsand personas.

    Hope LemanCenter for Health Research and QualitySamaritan Health ServicesCorvallis, OR

    K. J. Varnum. 2012. Drupal in Libraries. Chicago, IL: ALA Techsource (The Tech Set, 14),131 pp. ISBN: 978-1-55570-778-1. List price $59.95.

    Library website design has undergone significant changes from its static HTML beginnings.The current trend is the application of content management system (CMS) platforms toconstruct sites that smoothly integrate Web 2.0 functionality while delivering a responsivedesign for patrons using mobile devices. This book provides a comprehensive overview ofone such platformDrupal version 7.

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