Dialog Box Articles

The Dialog Box is WeaveUX’s review section, going beyond the traditional format in two ways: going beyond just books to consider any artifacts of user experience in libraries regardless of format and prioritizing reader engagement, practical applicability, and, we hope, inspiration.

“Ethnographish”: The State of the Ethnography in Libraries

Donna Lanclos, J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
Andrew D. Asher, Indiana University Libraries
Dialog Box

As professional anthropologists, we have been struck by the lack of concurrent support that this visible moment of ethnography in libraries has had in the form of full-time employment for ethnographers or embedded ethnography expertise in teams across the library staff, particularly, in contrast with increasing numbers of assessment and user experience oriented positions. In this article, we explore some of the reasons why we think libraries are stuck in a relatively unfinished ethnographic moment, one more accurately characterized as “ethnographish.”

DIY Usability: Low-Barrier Solutions for the Busy Librarian

Emily Mitchell, SUNY Oswego
Brandon West, SUNY Geneseo
Dialog Box

Although every library would benefit from running usability studies, not every library has a dedicated staff available to conduct those studies. Anecdotally, librarians seem to feel incapable of undertaking usability studies for reasons including time, budget, and expertise. We all have other job duties and tight budgets. There are plenty of quick usability tests that can be run with just a little time and even less expertise. These studies probably won’t get you the in-depth, fine-grained results that are possible with more involved studies, but they will help you to identify your website’s biggest problems. They’ll also point you in a user-centered direction as you fix those problems.

User Experience in Libraries: Applying Ethnography and Human-Centered Design

Review by Heidi Steiner Burkhardt
University of Michigan Library
Dialog Box

User Experience in Libraries: Applying Ethnography and Human-Centered Design (Routledge 2016) makes the compelling case that user experience work in libraries must go beyond our digital presence in broad and meaningful ways. The edited volume, published in May 2016, fills a void in the scholarly literature. Heidi Steiner Burkhardt from the University of Michigan Library reviews it.

Meaningfully Judging Performance in Terms of User Experience

Michael Schofield
Dialog Box

Much about user experience design is concerned with subjective improvements to language and structure, style, tone. The role of the user experience designer connotes a ton about the sorts of improvements at the surface of our websites, at the obvious touchpoints between patron and library. Unfortunately, this approach can neglect deep systemic or technical pain points to which “design” is wrongfully oblivious but which are fundamental to good user experience. Speed is a major example. Website performance is crucial enough that, when it is poor, the potential for even the best designs to convert is diminished. The most “usable” website can have no effect if it fails to load when and in the way users expect it to.

Meet Them in the Moment: Engaging Public Library Patrons When It Matters Most

Deirdre Costello, EBSCO Information Services
Cathleen Keyser, Novelist
Dialog Box

In the winter and spring of 2015, EBSCO’s User Research team conducted a large-scale, qualitative research project to learn more about how people feel and think about their public libraries, as well as how they use them (or don’t). We found that people have strong, positive associations with their public library, whether or not they engage with it regularly. However, when people are looking for information to help them make a big-ticket decision, their library’s resources are not always top-of-mind.

5 Lessons Library Websites Can Learn from Buzzfeed

Christina Manzo
Boston Public Library
Issue 3

Since its 2006 launch, Buzzfeed has become an Internet institution by recognizing and capitalizing on the insatiable life-cycle of viral media. Buzzfeed’s business model relies on shareability, something it has in common with today’s library, which is why library website designers have the opportunity to learn from Buzzfeed’s overwhelming success.

The UX Moment: A Weave Digital Panel, Part Two

Issue 3

In mid-January 2015, Weave reached out to a number of librarians who are doing user experience work with the hope of instigating and documenting the conversation they might have with one another. Coming from not only academic and public libraries, but also library and information science degree programs, the assembled group of professionals is doing and thinking about library user experience in a broad set of contexts and by a variety of means.

Great Library UX Ideas Under $100

Issue 3

In June, the LITA’s President’s Program Planning Team partnered with Weave to hold a contest for great, affordable UX ideas for libraries. The winner won some fabulous prizes, but the committee had trouble choosing just one of the entries they received to get recognition. And so we present the winner and first two runners-up for the 2015 Great Library UX Ideas Under $100.

An Internet of Pings: Enhancing the Web User Experience of Physically Present Patrons with Bluetooth Beacons

Mikael Jergefelt
Karolinska Institutet

Even for users who are physically in the library, digital services are important and relevant, but often elusive. Bluetooth beacons provide an affordable and innovative way to improve the physical user experience in your library.

The UX Moment: A Weave Digital Panel, Part One

In mid-January 2015, Weave reached out to a number of librarians who are doing user experience work with the hope of instigating and documenting the conversation they might have with one another. Coming from not only academic and public libraries, but also library and information science degree programs, the assembled group of professionals is doing and thinking about library user experience in a broad set of contexts and by a variety of means.

Grassroots UXD in the Library: A Review Essay

Monica Rettig
Brock University

I’ll admit it: I am excited about the potential for User Experience Design to bring about change in libraries. I look around at our spaces and interfaces, and think, “We can do better.” And I see the user experience approach as a way to get us there. But all this bold-faced enthusiasm only gets me so far.

Launching a Native App: Lessons Learned in Academic Libraries

April Siqueiros, Pratt SLIS
Samantha Raddatz, Pratt SLIS

If your library has a website and your users have mobile devices, congratulations: you have a mobile user experience. But is that experience a good one for your users?

The Dialog Box Interview with Courtney Greene McDonald

Amy Barlow
Wheaton College

Putting the User First by Courtney Greene McDonald is an accessible, action-focused handbook full of ideas for improving user experience right away and in any library.

WeaveUX Tweetposium: May 2, 2014

Pete Coco
Julie Bogen, Wheaton College '14

Curious fool and WeaveUX Dialog Box editor Pete Coco took to Twitter this past May with the intention of stirring the library UX pot.

Unless otherwise noted, all content in Weave UX is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY) in order to allow for the greatest possible dissemination of our authors’ work. Our authors always retain copyright to their work.