The Academic Library in Times of Change

Everybody Can Design: Exploring Participatory User Experience Across Library Services

April 14, 2018
11:20  -  12:20
Salon 4

Session Category :  Engaging in Practice 

As librarians, each of us has an aspect of our work that can benefit from seeking user input. User experience testing and design projects that lack consideration and thoughtful inclusion of all library users unintentionally create a disconnect between our intent to build welcoming services and spaces and the ultimate outcome of such projects. Participatory design sets out to center users in the design process by giving them ownership, embracing and celebrating their perspectives, and centering their knowledge and experience from the beginning of library service design. Using these principles to expand our definition of “expert” and engage our library user community means that we are designing for actual need, rather than what we perceive their needs to be. This session introduces the principles of participatory design and their uses in evaluating and creating new ideas for library services. Participants will split into groups and work through guided exercises on what they would like to evaluate, considering stakeholder groups with whom they would like to engage, and exploring how to dispel the “fourth wall” of designer-as-expert, dropping assumptions about what library users must know in order to be successful in engaging with the library. Finally, each team will develop a brief user experience exercise using one or more participatory design principles to bring back to their libraries. This session’s goal is to encourage librarians to consider all users, how to break internal silos among library services, and to bring new perspectives to our work as well as that of others.