LIS 60647 Week 1

Ease of access and learning while utilizing technology always depends on the design and usability of the interface. What surprised me after reading chapters 1 and 2 of our textbook is how many of the survey respondents said they would like to learn coding and interface design. Maybe these folks are frustrated with their current website and points of access and want to change them to be more usable? The library I work at is large enough we have our own dedicated systems and web development teams. They allow editing access through Drupal content editor and Springshare LibGuides. Many of the LibGuides offer content to be used for internal use rather than patron use while content provided by department heads is shared on the main library website. Thinking about how I would respond to a survey of my current institution I think I would like more advanced training on project management and electronic means of organizing workloads. Right now we utilize the LibGuide, paper checklists and visual “LEAN” style management to ensure work is being processed and completed throughout the workday.

Would I consider myself a digital native? Yes and no. I was born in the middle of the Millennial years and adapted to the increase of access to technology quite quickly. My family was quick to purchase cell phones and a computer with dial up internet access for the home business, but I distinctly remember writing my essays on note cards and later typing them on an electric typewriter as my access to the computer was limited to non-business hours. I remember exploring the computer for school and even made a few online purchases. In high school I became very interested in website design and took courses in html, Dreamweaver and Flash. During this time we learned right along side our teacher, she took college courses on the technology content then would turn around and teach us. Like others have mentioned I am very selective in what technology and social media I choose to utilize. I signed up for the requested websites per the assignment, but I don’t generally use these sites for personal use save for an occasional browse of Reddit. My preferred personal social media outlets are Instagram and SnapChat, because I love taking pictures and sharing them with close friends. I tend to disagree with the digital natives article describing experience with older library co-workers hesitation to utilize new technology. I work with many faculty members in their 60s and 70s who could tweet, Skype, blog or YouTube me under the table. This could be the particular culture of the organization I work in as it is fairly advanced in technology offerings and professional development. The author included references from digital native research by Darcy Del Bosque our emerging technologies librarian and Cory Lampert our head of digital collections. In my experience academics have a thirst for knowledge and new technology. I have had many chances to teach fellow co-workers new procedures and technologies and enjoyed breaking through the stereotype that older generations cannot or will not use new technology. If given training and guidance they quickly learn new skills to benefit the library and our users.

I am not currently a LITA member, but I did enjoy their 2014 ALA conference presentation “Web Therapy” when they visited Las Vegas this past summer. The presenters discussed web over load and how to focus technology and web needs around users and staff. This is so tricky because having all these fun tools to use may seem like a good idea from a staff point, but does it always benefit the end user? I am not sure. It depends on the user and their comfort level of utilizing multiple platforms. Information overload from the digital divide will be among some of the challenges we have to deal with as library professionals in the years to come.

The thing that keeps me invested in my career in libraries is being able to learn something new everyday from both people and technology. I would be bored if I couldn’t have this constant interaction and professional development that is provided by the university I currently work for. This engagement with technology for staff and our users in important to me and the growth of the library.

References

Burke, J.J. (2013). Neal-Schuman Library Technology Companion. Chicago: Neal-Schuman.

Del Bosque, D. & Lampert, C. (2009). A chance of storms: New librarians navigating technology

tempests. Technical Services Quarterly, 26(4), 261-286.

doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07317130802678878

Emanuel,J. (2013). Digital native librarians, technology skills, and their relationship with technology.

           Information Technology and Libraries, 32(3), 22-33. Retrieved from

http://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/ital/article/view/3811/pdf

LITA. (2014). Web therapy ALA 2014 conference. American Library Association website. Retrieved

from http://www.ala.org/lita/conferences/annual/2014

Advertisements

UXD 60104 Mod 5: Reflection

This week we needed to create a mock usability test with papajohns.com using screencasting software and a gracious volunteer. I set up my volunteer, software and readings then she bailed on Tuesday. Living in a 24/7 city like Las Vegas everyone has a different work schedule, I work nights and weekends so it makes it difficult to work on group projects. I was scheduled to travel home this weekend so I was able to have family help me. I was surprised by how long it took to get a decent recording because the audio was the most challenging part. Me acting as the moderator and my participant had to speak LOUDLY to have my computer pick up the sound clearly. The other challenge was the free screencast software had a 15 minute recording limit. To meet this limit we recorded several versions and I was forced to cut out parts of the script.

I was surprisingly nervous the first few recordings, I had prepared and read over the entire script and tasks off camera for the past couple of days in anticipation of the video. Having a camera on adds stress to the moderator and the participant. She had me stop so she could fix her makeup (lol)! I was getting very frustrated because of the 15 minute time limit and we had to work through the tasks to make sure it wasn’t taking too much time. If we had no time limit the video would have been very long as the learning curve of this website and my mac computer was difficult for the participant on the first recording.

Remaining unbiased is difficult. It is hard to sit and watch the participant getting frustrated and make mistakes and it is hard not to answer their questions. I found it especially difficult because this is a person I know very well and I was thankful for their help. When she got stuck I used verbiage from the readings such as asking questions (what do you think you should do next?) and moving her along without too much leading. I felt I let the participant speak and talk through the actions, but the difficult part about multiple recordings is she already knew what I was about to ask even though I still wanted to try and follow the script.

UXD 60104 Mod 4 Quantitative

This week we looked at quantitative metrics versus qualitative metrics.  After exploring Chipotle.com I chose to look at the site using a time on task metric. This type of testing provides information on how quickly (or not so quickly) a user performs specific tasks or parts of a task. The data is quantitative and describes a couple of different things to testers once the data has been organized.

In my experience stakeholder always want some portion of quantitative data and they respond well when you have lots of participants.  The difficult part of sharing quantitative data with stakeholders is to format, organize and display the data in a way that it makes sense and is easy to understand. The stakeholders at my job are the dean, two associate deans and the head of my department. All of these people have zero time to spend reading reports, listening to presentations or trying to decipher data to make their decision.

In a couple of projects I have worked on where I needed data to back up my case I found quick emails with graphs created from spreadsheets of data work wonders.  In one particular case our department wanted to request funding for more laptops and some tablets to check out at the circulation desk of our main library. The desk passed out surveys to students and we complied the results to share with the associate deans. The head of the department was able to get funding for new laptops and order tablets in response to the graphical display of survey data. Without quantitative data I do not believe we would have had such a positive response to the request.

UXD 60104: Mod 3

This week we looked at how to recruit and filter participants for usability studies based on preferred behaviors and demographics. The customer is Papa John’s and based off their questions they wanted to know about their online ordering process for a specific skill sets of customers. Being an avid take out order-er I found this to be an interesting assignment because all online food ordering platforms are ridiculously complicated and make me want to eat a bowl of cereal instead! Our group got a late start and we were unable to provide each other with extensive feedback. I now know I need to check my email more often for this course (ack!).

This week was the most challenging by far at first glance, after going through the presentations and readings it made much more sense to me what we were looking for in participants. It is difficult to find participants for anything at the university library I work for. Our screening process looks like this: Do you like food? Do you like free food? Do you have your RebelCard (student id)? Ok you’re in. We complete some usability testing for our website, but I think learning the participants existing knowledge on the use of the website would be helpful for us. We want to website to work well for freshman AND faculty. Always a difficult balance.

I avoided any football analogies since I am apparently totally backwards on my knowledge haha. Now college basketball? That is a different story 😛