Editor’s Note: This post is part of ACRL TechConnect’s series by our regular and guest authors about The Setup of our work.
Nadaleen Tempelman-Kluit @nadaleen
Location: New York, NY
Current Gig: Head, User Experience (UX), New York University Libraries
Current Mobile Device: iPhone 6
Work: Macbook pro 13’ and Apple 27 inch Thunderbolt display
Old dell PC that I use solely to print and to access our networked resources
I carry my laptop to and from work with me and have an old MacBook Pro at home.
Current Tablet: First generation iPad, supplied by work
One word that best describes how you work: has anyone said frenetic yet?
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Communication / Workflow
Slack is the UX Dept. communication tool in which all our communication takes place, including instant messaging, etc. We create topic channels in which we add links and tools and thoughts, and get notified when people add items. We rarely use email for internal communication.
Boomeranggmail-I write a lot of emails early in the morning so can schedule them to be sent at different times of the day without forgetting.
Pivotal Tracker-is a user story-based project planning tool based on agile software development methods. We start with user flows then integrate them into bite size user stories in Pivotal, and then point them for development
Google Hangouts-We work closely with our Abu Dhabi and Shanghai campus libraries, so we do a lot of early morning and late night meetings using Google Hangouts (or GoToMeeting, below) to include everyone.
Wireframing, IA, Mockups
Sketch: A great lightweight design app
OmniGraffle: A more heavy duty tool for wire framing, IA work, mockups, etc. Compatible with a ton of stencil libraries, including he great Knoigi (LINK) and Google material design icons). Great for interactive interface demos, and for user flows and personas (link)
Post It notes, Graph paper, White Board, Dry-Erase markers, Sharpies, Flip boards
Tools for User Centered Testing / Methods
GoToMeeting- to broadcast formal usability testing to observers in another room, so they can take notes and view the testing in real time and ask virtual follow up questions for the facilitator to ask participants.
Crazy Egg-a heat mapping hot spotting A/B testing tool which, when coupled with analytics, really helps us get a picture of where users are going on our site.
Silverback- Screen capturing usability testing software app.
PostitPlus – We do a lot of affinity grouping exercises and interface sketches using post it notes, so this app is super cool and handy.
OptimalSort-Online card sorting software.
Personas-To think through our user flows when thinking through a process, service, or interface. We then use these personas to create more granular user stories in Pivotal Tracker (above).
What’s your workspace like?
I’m on the mezzanine of Bobst Library which is right across from Washington Square Park. I have a pretty big office with a window overlooking the walkway between Bobst and the Stern School of Business.
I have a huge old subway map on one wall with an original heavy wood frame, and everyone likes looking at old subway lines, etc. I also have a map sheet of the mountain I’m named after. Otherwise, it’s all white board and I’ve added our personas to the wall as well so I can think through user stories by quickly scanning and selecting a relevant persona.
I’m in an area where many of my colleagues mailboxes are, so people stop by a lot. I close my door when I need to concentrate, and on Fridays we try to work collaboratively in a basement conference room with a huge whiteboard.
I have a heavy wooden L shaped desk which I am trying to replace with a standing desk.
Every morning I go to Oren’s, a great coffee shop nearby, with the same colleague and friend, and we usually do “loops” around Washington Square Park to problem solve and give work advice. It’s a great way to start the day.
What’s your best time saving trick
Informal (but not happenstance) communication saves so much time in the long run and helps alleviate potential issues that can arise when people aren’t communicating. Though it takes a few minutes, I try to touch base with people regularly.
What’s your favorite to do list manager
My whiteboard, supplemented by stickies (mac), and my huge flip chart notepad with my wish list on it. Completed items get transferred to a “leaderboard.”
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?
I don’t think I do things better than other people, but I think my everyday strengths include: encouraging and mentoring, thinking up ideas and potential solutions, getting excited about other people’s ideas, trying to come to issues creatively, and dusting myself off.
What are you currently reading?
I listen to audiobooks and podcasts on my bike commute. Among my favorites:
- UIE Brain sparks
- Q: The Podcast (pre knowing about Jian and now post Jian)
- The Big Web Show
- And of course, Serial
In print, I’m currently reading:
What do you listen to while at work?
Classical is the only type of music I can play while working and still be able to (mostly) concentrate. So I listen to the masters, like Bach, Mozart and Tchaikovsky
When we work collaboratively on creative things that don’t require earnest concentration I defer to one of the team to pick the playlist. Otherwise, I’d always pick Josh Ritter.
Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Mostly an introvert who fakes being an extrovert at work but as other authors have said (Eric, Nicholas) it’s very dependent on the situation and the company.
What’s your sleep routine like?
Early to bed, early to rise. I get up between 5-6 and go to bed between around 10.
Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.
@Morville (Peter Morville)
@leahbuley (Leah Buley)
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The University of Illinois’ team of IT diversity interns are working on departmental-specific mobile app modules and user studies of those app modules this Fall semester. The Illinois library is a decentralized system of nearly thirty departmental libraries serving diverse needs of staff, researchers, scientists, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Given such a diverse population, we wondered if it was possible to turn our prototyping pipeline to connect with other unit specific needs outside of our own space, the Undergraduate Library.
Specifically, this fall we wanted to understand how departmental collections and other library locations would use our already developed RESTful web services –which serves as the core component of the prototyping pipeline– for departmental and subject based mobile application modules.
This blog post describes the methods we used to quickly gather feedback on new and exciting features for department collections.The mobile application modules we studied include enhanced wayfinding support of multi-story buildings and collections (originally designed for an undergrad space of one level of collections), a reserves module for all libraries, and hours integration into book information data elements.
Enhanced Wayfinding in a Departmental Library
This module includes a navigation rose in the upper left corner of the mobile interface. Included is functionality for line segments that draw your current location to the location of your desired book in the stacks. The user can get their current location in the book stacks by using the barcode scanner module to scan the book nearest them, which then sets their current location. After setting their current location, any additional book that is then searched for in the library will generate a line segment path to the location of the searched for book.
Turn by turn directional support based on user location is a new enhancement, though we’ve been getting requests a few times in our previous user studies, from 2010-2011 use studies on maps and library wayfinding using mobile devices.
This reserve program offers the student access to library reserves from an Android device. The multiple drop downs allow the student to select her course reserves by either course, department, or major.
Hours of library locations integrated into book data
Most OPACs will let you know if the book is available. This is not always so straightforward in OPACs that inventory multiple locations. Some of the departmental collections actually have business hours of 9-5, or other limited hours during the weekend, yet the OPAC will show an item as Available so long as the book is not checked out. We tried to address the problem in our display module by adding a location status to the library — this checks against an hours database to let the user know if the library is actually open for the student to check out an available book.
Rapid use studies
With a number of feature enhancements to our core set of mobile app modules, we wanted to gather empirical data that could inform production services. The fastest way to get user input into modules that may be in the early design phase is to approach users who are currently in the building. In the case of these modules, we were experimenting with the idea of location services in department collections, and the wayfinding support was specific to the ACES library and so we made this our test location.
Once here we approached users with a test set of questions around the modules. We asked what parts of the app are useful for helping the students integrate library resources into their work. We also asked and observed what doesn’t help, and additionally what features would be worthwhile to further develop.
We asked these questions about app modules:
- Please describe any previous experience finding items in the Funk ACES Library?
- What software modules help students integrate library content into their course work?
- How easy to use is the application?
- Does the student need time to learn how to use the software?
- What unexpected things occur?
- How do students react when the application does not work as they expect?
- Do students make use of the location-based features?
After collecting initial use data the team is reshaping a few of the modules to make them easier to use while at the same time brainstorming ideas for making some of the features more evident. One of the key findings of this last round of user studies was that although we implemented a number of requested features, students could not always locate, and then use or in some cases understand the features and how they would help. So we need to think about making the help features more helpful, and more engaging, overall. We theorize that another reason they couldn’t always find the help tools we designed into the ACES modules was the fact that the modular offerings of our experiment have become a bit cluttered.
If you take a look at any of the above screenshots you will notice their were eight included modules in the bottom of the mobile interface for this study. We did put many options in front of the study participants, so the next round of user studies will be more focused on areas we think are worthwhile to develop: particularly the engaging elements of wayfinding, but also the reserves module was called out as the one part that students considered would be most helpful for integrating library resources into their work.
Finally, as we poured over a few of the software choices we made to construct the Android layers, we realized they were not quite modular enough, and so this caused errors in overall functionality of the app during the study. To correct this we are thinking about definitions for the core aspects of modular design.
A final step for our work this semester is to showcase all of our software prototypes to the library staff at the University of Illinois. To that end we are having an open house during finals week, where we are inviting all staff members into our prototyping space and asking also for their feedback on the software developed, and ask staff to try out some of the newest ideas in mobile technology, including our in-development augmented reality shelf browser, which is being coded with funds from a Sparks! IMLS grant. A user study for mobile augmented reality applications is planned this Spring 2013.
Another information technology problem we will work on in the Spring 2013 semester is how to incorporate our RESTful feeds into the library discovery layers. The Music and Performing Arts library location is likely our next collaboration for stacks based wayfinding support inside of the OPAC.
We would like to integrate our wayfinding feed into the OPAC to help students get from the book information to the stacks location, using the RESTful web-services we’ve designed for system efficiency from the onset. The next step for our fledgling prototyping initiative is system integration, which involves taking this prototype work and injecting its most useful and used components into production environments like our VuFind search and our Primo discovery layer.
Huang, Y.M., Wu, D.F., Guo, Q. (2009), “Build a RESTful Web service using Jersey and Apache Tomcat,” http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/web/library/wa-aj-tomcat/
Jones, T. & Richey, R. (2000), “Rapid Prototyping methodology in action: a developmental study,”Educational Technology Research and Development 48, 63-80
Prototyping as a Process for Improved User Experience with Library and Archives Websites: http://journal.code4lib.org/articles/7394