No other page logged more than one percent of overall hits for the site in that time frame – that’s pretty typical behavior for us. What does that mean? Well, we have a lot of pages, and we have a lot of people entering somewhere other than the home page.
What was our most used resource? Google Scholar, with 330 hits, followed by the New York Times with 316.
About 5000 sessions were via smartphones – that’s 15% of our overall traffic, which is up 150% from our previous average of about 10%. Only 2% of our users reached us via a tablet.
We here in DUX – and UX folks generally – think a lot about the tools that people use to do their work. As a content strategist, for example, if someone asks me to help them create an FAQ, I will take a step back and help them consider whether an FAQ is really the best tool for the job they are trying to do (in this case, generally leading users to the information they need). In the case of the Libraries’ website, we will ask whether a particular function or piece of content belongs on the public website or whether perhaps the staff Intranet is the best tool for that job.
To be a bit silly about it, just because an HTML tag exists that can make your text bright pink doesn’t mean you should actually USE that tool, right? Unless you have a really, really good reason for doing it.
Anyway, it was with that in mind that I came across this fantastic Powerpoint presentation (three words you won’t often hear right in a row, at least not from me) – “PowerPointless: Digital slideshows are the scourge of higher education” by Rebecca Schuman. If, like me, you’ve spent more hours than you care to count sitting through Powerpoint presentations that involved huge blocks of text on the screen or the presenter’s outline, or sat there while somebody carefully read their entire presentation to you from the screen, you will read this and probably fist-pump and shout “hallelujah!” Okay, maybe you won’t do that, especially if you’re in the library. But you really should click on the link and take a look at this presentation before you create YOUR next presentation, whether you’re planning on using Powerpoint or Prezi or just a stack of notes you scribbled out on old napkins.
ProQuest Congressional (includes ProQuest Congressional Hearings Digital Collection Part I 2016, ProQuest Congressional Research Digital Collection Part H 2016, ProQuest Serial Set 2 Digital Collection Part J 2016) https://libraries.indiana.edu/proquest-congressional
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. 🙂 )
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.
ER&L is in its 11th year, and over that time has drawn an increasingly wide range of library attendees, from public, academic and special libraries, and from an array of job roles: electronic resources acquisitions & management folks, certainly, but also other technical services staff as well as public services librarians of all sorts including reference, collections, technology and user experience.
Designing for Digital started as a response to the growing interest in user experience programming at the ER&L conference and has now been an event in its own right for three years.
These are great conferences, with an excellent balance between focused programming and just enough new/different stuff to let you expand and explore a little bit; and the numbers are much more manageable than the larger conferences like ALA, so it allows for great connection-making with other like-minded folks. They also do some scholarship programs, so if this is something of interest put it on your radar for next year. Can I also mention the amazing wifi, coffee and snacks … just sayin’.
One very cool thing I’d like to highlight is that all of the keynote sessions for both conferences were livestreamed and are now archived and freely available at the conference schedule sites (or you can find the links in my posts below). All of the keynote talks were by industry leaders and each was really worthwhile for some new info and inspiration: Dawna Ballard, S. Craig Watkins, Jesse James Garrett (!), Michelle Ha Tucker (formerly of IDEO). Have a look!
Content matters, a lot. People read or don’t read our web sites based on how we structure and present the content. Let’s write so they read it.
“If you build it they will come” only works for ball fields in the movies. General rejection of this approach to library service or application development – go to the users, talk with them, build to bridge gaps and enhance strengths.
Productive collaborations across libraries are going to be key in building the kind of services and tools our users need in the future, at the scale at which they’ll need them.
I wrote up some observations on the content of each conference on my own blog, so feel free to have a look at those posts for more info: