I enjoyed the readings on usability and user experience this week. I especially resonated with the two Morville articles. Morville and some of the other authors really hit home the idea that, as Internet Age librarians, especially those of us involved with digital libraries, we cannot be afraid of learning from web designers or online marketing people. A lot of the tricks of those trades are important tools for digital librarians as well!
I feel like Morville is a great example of an open-minded adaptable librarian. I thought it was very instructive how this guy who had built his career around the idea of Information Architecture was able to keep aware of the big picture and realize that sometimes findability is the most important attribute to improve. I also liked his honeycomb diagram that does a good job of showing all the different facets of UX that need to be kept in mind. Which brings me to the question from the discussion prompt:
- What are the most important factors in making a digital library user-friendly? How can they be carried out?
As always, limited resources mean tough choices as to where we focus the resources we do have as librarians. So is there a part of Morville’s honeycomb more worthy of our precious time and money than another?
Morville puts “valuable” in the center of his diagram and, from his definition (in “User Experience Design” 2004) this means UX that advances the mission of the organization itself. This reminds me of the NINCH guidelines. UX is only worth improving as far as it serves the mission of the organization that’s funding the improvements. (Seems obvious, but having worked with web designers on a variety of music and music school projects over the years it’s not! Some designers love bells and whistles more than functionality.)
Beyond that central focus, the other 6 facets seem fairly equal to me. It’s likely a matter of assessing your digital library for where it might be lacking in a fact or two and focusing on improvements in those areas.