Spring 2013 Conference Schedule

The UX Factor: User Experience and Libraries

Monday, May 20, 2013 at the downtown campus of the University at Albany

Note: Some sessions will be held at the First Unitarian Universalist Society (FUUSA) of Albany, directly across from the campus on Washington Ave.

8:00 – 9:00 a.m. – Registration and refreshments – Channing Hall, FUUSA

9:00 – Introductions – Emerson Community Hall, FUUSA

Tasha Cooper, ENY/ACRL President

Dr. Susan Phillips, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

9:15-10:15 – Keynote: “Start With a ‘Way We Serve Statement’: Design A Library User Experience for Your Community” – Emerson Community Hall

Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services
Paley Library,  Temple University

Great library experiences turn community members into loyal and passionate library users who will want to return to the library to receive memorable service, and more importantly, who will tell their friends about the great experience the library offers. But how do you design that type of experience. If you look at organizations that are highly regarded for the quality of their user experience, such as the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Starbucks or the Pike Place Fish Market, they all have one thing in common. A thoughtful and well designed “Way We Serve Statement”. In the user experience industry, this is referred to as an experiential brand statement. It is a conceptualization of the experience the organization wants the customer to receive. It is not a brand statement that is used for marketing. Rather, it is a touchstone statement that is developed and used by the staff members to guide their interactions with community members. The Way We Serve Statement for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, for example, is “This is the home of a loving parent”. As staff members go about their work, they are always asking themselves, how can I make the customer feel like they are in the home of a loving parent. Over time and with staff development, the statement defines the way that customers are served by that organization. In this presentation, attendees will learn how an academic library empowered staff members to develop a Way We Serve Statement for their library. The presentation will provide background information on experiential brand statements, review the process used at this library to develop a statement and provide practical examples of how to replicate this process so that attendees can develop a Way We Serve Statement for their libraries.

Steven Bell’s handout on UX

10:15 – 10:30 – Coffee Break, Channing Hall, FUUSA

10:30 – 11:30 – “The User-Centered Library: Platonic Ideal or Fool’s Errand?” – Emerson Community Hall, FUUSA

Alex Wright, Director of User Experience and Product Research at The New York Times and the author of Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages

Over the past two decades, the technology world has largely embraced the User Experience approach to design: focusing on user goals and needs, understanding usability heuristics, and conducting iterative design and testing to create user-centered Web and software applications. In recent years, the User Experience approach has started to gain traction in the library world as well. The benefits seem obvious: by focusing on end users, libraries should be able to improve their interactions with end users and, ideally, achieve better outcomes. But bringing UX methodologies into research libraries also raises a number of interesting conceptual challenges. For example: balancing the short-term needs of users versus the long-term institutional needs of the academic enterprise; finding the right balance between top-down classification and user-driven tagging systems; and responding to the competitive pressures introduced by the larger Internet ecosystem. In this talk former Harvard librarian Alex Wright will reflect on his own experiences transitioning from the academic library world into a role managing UX teams at The New York Times, IBM and elsewhere. Along the way he will share his perspective on the pros and cons of various UX design and research methodologies, as well some historical context on the shifting role of libraries in an age of increasingly empowered end users.

11:30 – 1:00 – Buffet Lunch and Business Meeting – Room 200 Milne Hall

12:45-1:30 – Poster and Vendor session – Husted 2nd floor

1:30 – 2:15 – Breakout Sessions –  Husted 219/214/204

2:15 – 2:30 – Afternoon Break with Refreshments – Channing Hall, FUUSA

2:30 – 3:20 – Lightning Rounds – Emerson Community Hall, FUUSA

3:20 – 3:30 – Evaluation and Wrap Up

3:30 – Tour of Dewey Graduate Library (Hawley Building)