UXLib – User Experience in Libraries

17 – 19 March 2015.  Cambridge @UXLibs  #UXLibs http://uxlib.org I recently spent three days taking part in the UXLibs conference at Cambridge University, learning about ethnographic techniques and having an open mind.  This was a very participative conference where working as a team and learning together was very much part of the overall experience.  A month before the conference we were allocated a team, in my case ‘Think Pink’.  We were given an online basecamp where the nine of us could get to know each.  ‘Think Pink’ consisted of members from Hull, York, Cardiff, Uppsala (Sweden), London, Manchester, Bern (Switzerland) & Cambridge. Our project over three days was to create a product, concept, or service which increased awareness and use of library resources and services.

Day 1 – Ethnography Keynote – Donna Lanclos @DonnaLanclos – Why do this?

Faculty of Divinity Library
Day 1 – Faculty of Divinity Library

After a great presentation from Donna Lanclos explaining why it is important to do qualitative research like ethnography, our team attended a number of ethnographic workshops.  We then put the techniques we learned into practice during an afternoon of fieldwork in the Faculty of Divinity.  These techniques included observations (AEIOU framework), cognitive mapping, interviews, Love/break up letters and touchstone tours (Participants show the researcher around their spaces).  We all enjoyed this practical experience, got to know each other better and gathered a vast amount of data, which seemed overwhelming!

Day 2 – Ideation (Or idea generation) Keynote – Paul Jervis-Health @pauljervisheath – Transforming insights into services

Team Ideation
Day 2 – Team ideation

After another great presentation, this time from our team mentor Paul Jervis-Health,  day 2 was about processing the masses of data we gathered on day 1 and turning that data into ideas and concepts.  Again, we all attended workshops in the morning and spent the afternoon as a team using techniques such as cliché subversion, Six Eight Five, affinity mapping, and ‘How? Now. Wow!’ (Not brainstorming- that would be bad!) to develop an idea to pitch/present the following day.  Day 2 was exhausting but team ‘Think Pink’ came out with the idea of a website/mobile app to promote and build communities based on study space (think trip adviser and expedia for study space).  A searchable knowledge base including input and recommendations from the Cambridge University community.

Day 3 – The pitch Keynote – Matthew Reidsma (@mreidsma) – More than usable: Library services for humans https://vimeo.com/122936566 and http://matthew.reidsrow.com/articles/134#fn1

Team Think Pink ready to pitch
Day 3 – Team Think Pink ready to pitch

After a very thought provoking keynote from Matthew Reidsma, day 3 saw team ‘Think Pink’ locked in a room in Cambridge’s English faculty planning and developing our pitch for the heats. Time was limited but we managed to pull it together. We presented well to the judges and the three other teams in our heat (I think!) but unfortunately didn’t make it to the final. I think my tweet ‘#teamthinkpink feel like winners anyway. A great experience with some great people’ summed it up. The conference was the best event I have ever been to in a work context, it was very hard work (apparently 8 weeks of work in 3 days) but great fun.  I learnt a lot over the 3 days, made some really good connections and have a lot of tools and techniques to try out in Hull. A few fun facts (Not necessarily all true):

  • There were 108 delegates
  • From 8 countries
  • We ate 367 packets of love hearts
  • We ate 246 cookies
  • There were 3489 photos taken by the conference photographer.  Some of which can be seem at https://www.flickr.com/photos/132033164@N06/
  • There were 902 #UXLibs through twitter and #UXLibs was trending in the UK!
  • We used 33903 post-its
  • One member of ‘Think Pink’ went to their room after the daytime activities, fell asleep, missed dinner and didn’t wake up until the morning.
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