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Discovery & User Experience

DUX, redux!

image showing evolution from chimpanzee to early human to modern human hunched over a computer

image credit: Esther Dyson

A story about evolution:

Once upon a time, there was a Web Team – chaired by a Web Administrator, who reported to the Library IT department. Before long, a new department was created to manage the public-facing/user-experience aspects of the Libraries’ website as well as IUCAT and a couple of other things. This was the Online Services department – a bit of a confusing name because we didn’t manage everything that could be found online with the Libraries’ name attached to it, but we certainly did focus on providing services! This mini-department (there were two of us) was part of Libraries IT.

As time went on, it became clearer that this public-facing, user-experience work belonged under the general umbrella of Public Services (now Library Academic Services). In casting about for a good, descriptive department name that also had a decent acronym, we landed on Digital User Experience – DUX for short, because “UX” is the standard acronym for User Experience. We were pretty fond of this acronym, as it gave us the opportunity to quack each other up with duck puns, give little rubber duckies wearing mortarboards to our graduating student employees, and so on. (It also gave us a teeny tiny checkpoint as we interviewed applicants for the new position of DUX department head. If they didn’t find the acronym charming or amusing, they weren’t going to be a good fit! Fortunately, we found someone who didn’t mind. 🙂 )

a giant rubber duck in a city harbor under a dramatic sky with a crowd looking on

image credit: Jerry Liu

Organizational change being what it is, and because the Libraries were trying to find ways to prioritize improvement of user experience in a larger sense, that part of our name was given over to a new department and in 2013 we became the Discovery & Research Services department. We still did all of the same things (discovery, including the UX aspects of our OneSearch@IU discovery tool, being a big part of our mission) but now we were DRS. We didn’t take the opportunity to wear white lab coats (look, I spill my coffee and my lunch a lot, okay? I don’t dare wear white to work) but we did manage to make a good pun now and then, like when a colleague messaged me to say that our CMS was giving her high blood pressure. And yes, we did make house calls!

Anyway, to make a long story short (too late?), this month we’ve had another name change. I’m very pleased to announce that we are now the Discovery & User Experience department, which means we are DUX again! We are, of course, far from the only people in the Libraries who care about and prioritize improvement of the user experience. And while we don’t manage all aspects of the Libraries’ UX (which is a pretty huge concept, including things like making the elevators work right – trust me, you don’t want us working on the elevators, but busted elevators are not a good user experience!) we do take ownership of making most of the UX that happens on people’s screens as reliable, easy, and enjoyable as possible. Our strategy – like that of anyone working in libraries – continues to evolve, but our primary mission remains the same as it has all along: to make it easier for our users to do the things they need to do.


Related post: Read about the history of the Libraries’ website

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