That’s right, we’re back for installment two. Join us monthly for a lively discussion – or follow along on the internet, perhaps? If anyone is interested in asynchronous, remote participation, holler out and let us know; we’ll try to loop you in. This is a friendly book club – we bring snacks, you don’t have to have pored over every word to attend, etc.
Below, the info as it appeared in our staff newsletter yesterday:
Happy new year, and welcome to the second installment of DUX BÜX (ducks boooks). This book club, founded by us in fall 2016, is open to all librarians and staff with the goal of encouraging discussion of UX issues throughout the Libraries.
This semester, we are pleased to be reading Intertwingled: Information Changes Everything by Peter Morville. Why this book? This much-praised title is “a spirited tour of information architecture, user experience, and systems thinking that reveals how everything is connected from code to culture.” Sounds fun to us!
We will shortly have an office copy of this title (inquire within) and one circulating copy within the collection (on-orderas of today, Jan 19). It is available for purchase via Amazon in print format for $15 or via Kindle for $9.99 (remember that you can read Kindle books using the Kindle app on any phone, tablet or laptop [https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/fd/kcp]).
Earlier this week, we released an update for our Serials Solutions E-Journal Portal and IU-Link services. In addition to refreshing and rebranding the interface to reflect updated IU brand standards & the library website design, you’ll notice that both these platforms are now responsive and mobile friendly.
Other improvements include:
Search by DOI/PubMed ID
Journal browse now includes Medical Subjects
Results listings note peer-reviewed and open access titles, include cover images (where available)
The IU-Link citation pages share the newly updated header and footer.
I’ve picked a few from the list to highlight in brief, but I recommend you take a few minutes & have a look at the full article. What’s interesting to me is that although this is a list about design problems, at its most basic level it’s a list of content problems: where is the content, what words do we use for labels, repetitive content, siloed content, circuitious content.
Unexpected Locations for Content
“When the site structure doesn’t match the users’ mental models of how information should be organized, people are unable to locate what they need.”
I think libraries have been having this conversation on and off for some time. Where does it make sense for us to integrate search or design elements that are commonly experienced in the commercial web? If we can’t, or don’t feel we should, how do we build bridges and provide the necessary information and context?
Competing Links and Categories
“When users can’t clearly distinguish between similar navigational categories or links, they struggle to find the right path to content… If multiple sections or pages could address a specific information need, users must explore each or make their best guess.”
This is why Anne & I send so many polite little notes about small tweaks we’ve made to page titles, and why we encourage you to search within our own site as you are creating new content to see what content already exists & to be able to write unique and informational page/news/event titles.
Islands of Information
“Some sites offer small bits of information scattered around the site, with little or no connection between them. When users find one such island of information without links to other related information, they have no reason to think that another area of the site offers supplementary material… Consider why information is scattered throughout the site, consolidate it as appropriate, and pick the best spot for it.”
We’ve made great strides toward this kind of positive consolidation since we migrated to Drupal in 2014 – we migrated approximately 8500 pages and right now we have about 900 basic pages (plus resources, news/exhibits/events items, subject posts, user profile pages, etc). Across all our content types I estimate that we have approximately 2500 ‘objects’ right now, so that means we’ve made good progress toward pruning and updating our site.
“Even if users can determine the right site location for their information needs, they can still be stymied by unexpected or lengthy workflows. Users should get closer to the information goal as they click through pages. Teams sometimes build pages in isolation and do not consider the route to the content they’ve created.”
The example used in the article was of the NYC.gov site: “Users were frustrated when they selected a link labeled Find a Firehouse only to have to select the differently spelled Find a fire house link on the next page.” Oof. Yes, we do this too, and we are ever on the lookout for this sort of thing. And let’s not even talk about how many clicks it can take to finally get to the full text.
That’s it for now, folks! TGIF and all that stuff. Until next time …
Google’s virtual reality efforts are getting a lot of press these days, so what’s all the commotion? For the past two years, Cardboard has been the flagship of Google VR. If you’re new to the world of virtual reality, Google Cardboard is essentially housing made of cardboard that turns your smartphone into a virtual reality viewer. Similar products include Oculus Rift and Samsung’s Gear VR, but they come with a hefty price tag. A Cardboard viewer, on the other hand, will run you about $20 or less; Google even provides the blueprints if you want to create your own from scratch.
If you’re still scratching your head, think back to the good ‘ole View-Master. With Cardboard, you’re also looking at images through a viewer, but the experience is more interactive. Instead of viewing stagnant images, you can watch 360-degree videos that respond to your movements. For instance, in Bjork’s 360-degree music video, you’ll see Bjork standing on a beach in front of you, but you can also look up at the sky, down at the sand, even behind you. Pretty impressive stuff, eh?
Unfortunately, creating a 360-degree video isn’t quite as affordable as viewing one. GoPro has a VR camera rig called Jump that can be yours for the low low price of $15,000. That said, you can create your own 360-degree still images for free with the Google Street View app! In Google terms, these images are called “photo spheres”, or a series of images stitched together to recreate a 360-degree experience. I took one of my office and the process was incredibly simple; the app prompts you to move your phone around as you take photos to capture your whole environment. The final product isn’t 100% seamless, but the price is right and sharing is remarkably easy. If you’re eager to try out Google Cardboard, check out the #360Video YouTube channel. Even without the viewer, this will give you an idea of what we mean when we say virtual reality.
In addition to Cardboard, Google recently announced a new virtual reality viewer platform called Daydream, set for release this November. Daydream is considered an upgrade to the existing Google Cardboard viewer at more than double the price ($80). If you’re curious about VR, Cardboard remains an excellent choice for beginners. Daydream may be the latest model, but it’s unlikely to rival the simplicity, DIY quality, and accessibility of Cardboard.
If you’re interested in emerging technologies and digital creativity, join us on Mondays this semester at the IQ-Wall for Maker Mondays workshops, presented as part of the Scholars’ Commons Workshop Series – yet to be covered are stop-motion animation, internet of things and logo design:
Last week I was happy to have the opportunity to take in this energetic, insightful keynote by Harper Reed, currently Senior Director of Software Development at PayPal and sometime CTO for Obama for America and Threadless.com (best T-Shirts ever!). It’s MSFW (mostly-safe-for-work) [F-bomb alert], but hey! our CIO invited him so I think IU employees at least are A-OK.
Enjoy this talk on Big Data, Product Design, UX & Being Only A Little Creepy. I’m pretty confident the hour will zip by.
We all have goals. Write that book, run that marathon, build a better mousetrap … start a book club with an umlaut in the title.
Actually, it didn’t have to be a book club. I just LOVE umlauts, and some tiny part of me has been waiting for the chance to shoehorn one into some professional endeavor for years. Lucky you, that time has come!
We’re starting a book club, and we’re calling it DUX BÜX (ahem, that’s ducks boooks, please say it with feeling). We hope you’ll join us. Below, find the brief blurb we’ve shared in our staff newsletter.
I think you’ll really enjoy this book – I know we have. It’s pithy, it’s useful, and, let’s be honest: it has gigantic type and lots of pictures. So there’s no excuse for not showing up having read the first chapter next week.
User experience (UX) encompasses everything related to how people experience the library: how easy it is (or isn’t) to find what you need on the website, signage, customer service, how books are shelved, you name it. Let’s talk about this! To encourage discussion of UX issues throughout the Libraries, DUX is starting a book club, open to all librarians and staff.
Our first book will be How To Make Sense of Any Mess by Abby Covert – freely available online and relatively inexpensive to purchase in print format. (We’ll also have a ‘reserve’ copy – ask us directly at our usual email) This highly readable book will help you understand the field of information architecture, and how to clean up just about any kind of “mess”– whether it’s a hopeless file drawer, a cluttered kitchen, a terrifying tenure dossier, or a website.
Join us monthly for a lively discussion. You bring thoughts and questions, we’ll bring snacks! All meetings are from 12-1p.
September 27th: Chapter 1
October 18th: Chapters 2 & 3
November 15th: Chapters 4 & 5
December 6th: Chapters 6 & 7
Speaking of books, which as a librarian is an occupational hazard, if you’re interested in user experience, think you might be, or just want to look like you are, these two recommended reading lists from UXBooth are chock full of great content.