Reading Project 2018 – Useful, Usable, Desirable #8

Ok, Useful, Usable, Desirable: Applying User Experience Design to your Library by Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches is one of the books that my work bought after we did the User Experience (UX) training with Andy Priestner in July. Yes I have only read it now. It’s very popular and at this moment someone else is interested in reading it so I hurriedly finished it off!

This book is full of great UX design stuff that library staff could easily apply to in their libraries. The authors have broken up the chapters into different library touchpoints:

  • Physical Space
  • Service Points
  • Policies and Customer Service
  • Signage and Wayfinding
  • Online Presence
  • Using the Library

For each touchpoint, they discuss why these touchpoints are important to library members and users, how to assess members’ experiences and how to improve those experiences. I won’t summarise every single touchpoint discussion here but instead will provide you with what I thought were the most interesting (no brainer) things that libraries aren’t doing but could certainly do now!

  • Creating zones for different types of activities/behaviours (business, quiet, silent)
  • Easy access to power outlets
  • Staff to move at the front of the desk
  • Involve staff (especially frontline staff) in the process of crafting a service philosophy
  • Hire the right people (friendly, helpful and empathic frontline staff)
  • Employ few signages as possible
  • Reduce the size of your library website
  • Rewrite content in your library website
  • Your library’s home page should clearly express what people can do on the site – a good example:
  • Photocopying and printing should be free
  • Self-serve devices and equipment are intuitive or have easy to follow instructions
  • No log-in or password required for accessing the library’s wifi
  • Merchandise library items – place them at self-check kiosks or service desks – use thematic displays

Of course, there are more but you just need to read the book! If ever my work organisation lobbies for a UX librarian – I will certainly put both of my hands (and feet) up! A highly recommended book for those library folks wanting a useful, usable and desirable library!


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