Usability Testing: a Practical Guide for Librarians

And in other news…. I published a book! It came out at the end of September and I’m hoping it will be useful for anyone who is interested in dabbling in usability testing for the first time or leveling up their skills. Whether you’re on a string budget with little staffing, or you have a larger web team that’s committed to improving the user experience, this should be a worthwhile read.

If it’s not already a go-to handbook on your book shelf, please check it out. Available for $55.79 on Amazon.

Book cover for Usability Testing: a Practical Guide for Librarians


Taming Our Franken-site

WordPress reminded me that I’ve been slacking on this blog, sorry about that…

It’s a bit late, but this is a presentation I gave along with our web content strategist, Shoshana Mayden, at edUi earlier in the fall:

EdUI – a great conference as always.

And some news: just last month, we were able to secure a permanent position. That’s right, our library now has a full-time content strategist! And it’s pretty fabulous. (She was previously on a one-year contract. A year of hard work proved how extremely valuable content strategy is to our organization).

Do-it-Yourself Usability Testing: An Introduction

Yesterday, I presented a webinar sponsored by the Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records. They organize professional development for library workers across the state. This was a great opportunity to share an overview of how to conduct usability testing easily and on a budget.

We had a few technical issues at the start, and some of my slides came out funky or incomplete, but other than that I think it went well.

Webinar recording (1 hour)

Presentations at edUi 2013

I was fortunate to attend edUi for the second time this year. Excellent conference that brings together leaders in user experience from the higher ed community. I presented twice – first with colleague from UNC Chapel Hill, Kim Vassiliaddis on bringing together stakeholders and leading staff during times of big changes:

I then presented with former colleague, Samantha Barry, on techniques for effective web writing:

Wrapping up the Library Juice Academy UX Certificate

Earlier this year, I helped organize the UX Certificate program for Library Juice Academy. It’s 6 courses, completely online, with each course lasting 4 weeks. I’d previously been teaching the Do-It-Yourself Usability Testing, which was super fun & interesting, so I was happy to add a couple more, and also bring in some colleagues from elsewhere to contribute.

I was lucky to get others on board to help with the curriculum and the teaching:

It’s great to see so many familiar faces in these classes – students taking the entire program. I also see some new faces in each course, which is also fun. We have a mix of students from academic, community college, and public libraries as well as some who are working towards their MLS or who are just seeking some continuing education.

We have in the final month of teaching right now, wrapping it up with Content Strategy for the Web. I am possibly most excited about this course, because content strategy has been on my mind for a long time and I want to share the love. I published an article earlier this year, Developing a Content Strategy for an Academic Library Website, and am currently right in the middle of a search for a one-year Web Content Strategist for our library. I’ve been de facto content strategist, but if we could have someone whose whole job is dedicated to this type of work, that would be awesome. I think we could so some really innovate stuff with our site. And we have some great candidates, which is really exciting. This position has been funded for 12 months, but I am thinking we might be able to justify having a permanent line in this role, depending how the year goes and what we accomplish. We shall see!

Rebuild of the Center for Creative Photography Website

I presented with my colleagues Ginger Bidwell & Josh Williams yesterday, “Extreme Website Makeover: Center for Creative Photography Edition.” It was at the annual Arizona Library Association (AZLA) conference held in Phoenix.

I started off by discussing who was involved, how we communicated with stakeholders, what user research we conducted (survey, personas, remote card sorting), our competitive analysis, and how we developed a purpose, voice & tone for the new website. Ginger discussed all things Drupal, including how we built structured content and why it’s so important, and Josh discussed the visual design decisions and how & why we went with a responsive design. The audience seemed very interested in the process, and for many of them working in public libraries across the state, this was at the first time they had heard of techniques like personas, card sorting, structured content, and responsive design.