IAKM 61095-006 Reflective Journal Week 7

This is the final week of the course.  We needed to design a usability test plan for testing the Lunch Money Buddy app prototype.  This was probably my favorite assignment because I love designing tests and surveys for users to enhance the design of the product.

I would be interested to actually test my app prototype as there are a few areas of concern for me.  I used these areas of concern as the basis for my usability test design. I chose to create a think aloud, task based test as I think this will provide me with the information I need regarding these tasks and page designs.  I am most concerned about the organization hierarchy of the account maintenance functions of the app as there are many options under this one label.

Overall I feel this course was well worth the time and effort. Certainly the most challenging course I have taken within the IAKM program, but I feel it gave me hands on experience I can add to my UXD portfolio.  Since this is my last course for graduation I am thankful it was very hands on.

IAKM 61095-006 Reflective Journal Week 6

This week we finalized our Lunch Money Buddy prototypes and created a presentation and portfolio piece for our existing  portfolio.  I used Proto.io to continue creating the interactions the user would see when using the app. I added some more design details and motion to make it clear when a task was accomplished by the user, for example when a lunch funds reload was complete.

We got to get lots of feedback from our group which helped a lot for me since this is all new to me. I have never prototyped an app or thought through the most simple of user interface interactions.

The presentation and the portfolio piece overlapped a bit for me since it was describing a lot of the same information. What was the problem, background, actions and results.  Did we solve the design challenge?

IAKM 61095-006 Reflective Journal Week 5

I continued work on the interactive prototype “Lunch Money Buddy” using the Proto.io software.  Since I don’t have school aged kids (or know anyone who does) I wanted to do a little research into what foods kids are typically eating at school and how that information is displayed for parents. I looked through several school websites and was amazed at the information available to parents regarding schedules, menus and payments.

I used this research to build my menu prototypes.  I opted for a weekly menu for people with smaller phones or for users with difficulty reading small text. I also redid my navigation as I found my original plan for a upper level hamburger menu was frustrating to use especially within the menu pages.  The user would have to continually go up and down to move through the various menus if they have multiple children.  I went with a lower level icon menu that is much simpler to use.

I will continue working on the other home menu functions such as app settings, family profile, and account settings. This is a link to my draft so far:


-Janie Ralston

IAKM 61095-006 Reflective Journal Week 4

This week we continued work on the interactive prototype for the app “Lunch Money Buddy”.  I played around with the website Proto.io recommended by the professor. I found the website very easy to use and it offered some standard interactions that a user would see in any basic app. I was happy to have this help as a jumping off point as I have never created electronic interactions in this way.  For my current job my digital UI experience includes helping to design web forms and content.

I am thankful for the feedback from my group and it is nice to see others’ interpretations of the assignment.  It reminds me to complete basic requirements and expand on the interactions based on the user journey we created earlier.

I will continue work on my draft for next week’s due date.

IAKM 61095-006 Reflective Journal Week 3

This week we worked on sketches for our wireframe of the “Lunch Money Buddy” application. I sketched a few of the upper level navigation pages and shared with my group.  Getting feedback is very helpful in the drafting stages as there were a couple of pieces I felt were missing in my drafts.

I next used publisher to create the final wireframes for the upper level navigation and the user interactions I wanted to explain in more detail with wireframes. I changed a few things from the draft including adding more information about the interactions and the way each view would vary on a smaller phone.  I prefer the vertical layout of the app as I feel there is less scrolling.  To ease the user interaction of viewing the lunch menu I switched this from a monthly view to a weekly view based on group feedback.

IAKM 60114: Module 3 Part 2

This week we finished up the eyetracking data review and wrapped up the course.  This assignment allowed students to see the results from an eyetracking usability study completed a couple of years ago on the usability of the Kent State University Library homepage where participants were tasked with suggesting the library purchase an item. Participants had a very hard time completing this task. I created three other tasks that would have tested this particular user group better as I felt the task at hand was better suited for faculty who might actually need to request the library purchase an item.

For this assignment I reviewed five short videos multiple times and looked at heat maps and gaze plots for the participants. It is interesting to see how each individual went about the task in a variety of ways.  The heat maps from the first few seconds showed most participants focused their attention to the same parts of the website. Only one participant of the five were successful in completing the task.  If a company is willing to throw cash at the initial investment of the eyetracking device and staff are willing to create and look at the data this type of usability testing could be crucial in determining the behavior of users on a given interface.

LIS 60647: Mod 10

As our textbook states “The history of libraries is a story of technology”, from the way manuscripts were created by scribes to printing presses, organization and indexing to personal computers and accessible systems for staff and patrons the technology in libraries is the basis for growth in the field. Allowing for flexible environments based on the current technology needs of users (wifi, electronic periodicals, pcs, etc.) allows libraries to continue to stay relevant even when people say “books are dying”. This focus on adaptability and staying on the edge of emerging technology while focusing on user needs is the basis of many leaders in the field.

Ranganathan is considered the father of library science in India and formulated the five laws of library science. These five laws, written in the 1930’s are seemingly simple, but they are still relevant to this day. Many of the laws consider the growing technology of the library and focus on the user.


-This link provides a quick recap of the rules.

Focusing on user needs, how to easily access these materials and how to grow a library with technology that makes things simpler, not more difficult for the user are the primary goals of library staff. Focusing on the future and what technology to implement versus what technology to avoid is an important aspect to look at among the rules. The rules warn against obtaining popular technology that actually takes more staff time and wastes patron time because it is so complicated or difficult to learn. Utilizing technology and automation in smart ways that save staff time in turn helps save patron time. This type of automation can be seen successfully helping users with automation in circulation functions and the acquisitions department where the workflow informs how quickly (or not) the patron can access an item. Acquisitions greatly benefits from technology advances that reduces workflow redundancies and duplicate work. The ILS that communicates well with vendors can get materials approved, ordered, shipped, cataloged and on the shelf much more quickly allowing access for patrons more quickly than ever before.

Accessibility is a huge issue for libraries, as the Digital Public Library YouTube video states the financial investment required to acquire access to online periodicals is growing rapidly at about 4x the rate of inflation. Libraries must get creative with budgeting and fundraising to help bridge the gap to allow access for patrons to these materials. Acquisitions needs to look at redundancies in access across databases and data from systems to determine what users are actually accessing and using. Staff must help educate patrons on how to access materials and if they have remote access marketing must highlight this. The Digital Public Library is an online collective that creates an open, all access library for all with 100% digital materials. Resources like this one help promote the relevancy of the library in a digital and Google age.

Libraries currently offer users what Google and the internet cannot, people to help, access to a computer and wifi and trained search strategies. What happens when the services and resources available digitally match this? The textbook discusses the Googlezon phenomenon where Amazon and Google team together to form a conglomerate that focuses on individualized news, information and events just for you.


Science fiction or library science fact? I agree with this model in a user focused information model. Buy what users want and actually use. I personally think users will always have a need for assistance. Does this have to be in person assistance? Probably not. As users become more and more comfortable with computers there are so many ways to connect with users without actually having to see them in person. Assisting with the access and retrieval of resources whether these materials are owned by the library or part of an open database or website will be something librarians will continue to be part of. With the rapid increase of information and a flood of free resources available to anyone with a computer and internet connection comes complications in searching for relevant information. A Google search may return hundreds of thousands of results, but are these what the user is looking for, do these give the user relevant information, are the sources accurate? These are skills librarians hold in their tool belt that can be difficult for an algorithm to recreate.

Focusing on purchases of technology and collections that match the user base and help keep the organization relevant in the community will continue to grow libraries. The five rules of library science by Ranganathan, while written over 80 years ago, still rings true today and can help us keep our focus on what matters: the patrons we serve (in person or virtually).