Planning Out UX

An Infopeople student emailed me today saying that they’re starting up a UX team (yay!). They wanted to know how do you get a handle on all this? How do you start? How do you hold meetings?

Here’s what we do at work:

Each of us has our specialization and own regularly scheduled work that has to be done (for me, this is teaching and publicity)

We have a weekly standing meeting on Mondays for 15 minutes to an hour where we give a progress report for the past week and what we’re working on this week.

Once a month we have a big meeting where we do long-term project planning. Right now we’re consumed with the website, so our meetings focus on that. In addition, we’re also having a meeting every other month on a particular aspect of the website. Content strategy is next!

Shorter term, we do very informal interviews/chats with staff and patrons to pick up on what’s going right/wrong. If it’s something we can fix immediately, we discuss it in our Slack channel. Otherwise, it goes into our Help Desk ticket system to be addressed.

Each of us then picks up pet projects along the way. Since I work on publicity, I’ll meet with staff on some small project. Right now, I’m developing the automated welcome email which will be sent out via MailChimp. The public services assistant director is the one I’m bouncing this off on. My colleague, the Systems Administrator, is doing API work so we can get Polaris users to be sent to MailChimp so they’ll receive that email. From there, we’ll do a two-month test to see what patrons think about it/do.

My recommendation on how to get started:

First go around and interview staff. You don’t have to talk to every single person, but get at least two from each department. Preferably a mix of new people (new eyes) and old (long-term experience). Be careful about people’s biases which may not have any grounds in reality. You’ll also need to be careful about describing what you’re up to. For my website interviews, I made it clear that I wouldn’t be sharing the identities of who commented on what. I have it in my Google spreadsheet, but I’ve locked that column so only I can see it.

Then go through the comments and start separating the rubbish, things to pursue further, and actionable items you can do quickly. My boss is a big fan of uh… small investment, but big impact (can’t recall the business jargon). For example, putting new desktop wallpapers on the computers vs. designing a complete signage overhaul.

Once you have an idea about what you’re looking at (internal stuff tends to be easier to manage in some ways. You don’t have to chase patrons), you can start making plans on what to tackle first.

Shout-out in Libraries 3D Printing Report

Just a small thing, but I received an acknowledgement in Charlie Wapner’s Towards a More Printed Union: Library 3D Printing Democratizes Creation paper. :-D

Charlie is a great person to discuss 3D printing in libraries with. He currently works for the Office of Information Technology Policy with a focus on 3D printing. Many events held in Washington, D.C. and papers written on behalf of ALA are thanks to his work.