UX at the BJL

The first post on this blog was of my experience at the UXLibs conference in March 2015. Almost a year on I thought it was about time I followed it up with a ‘What have I done as a result’ post.

As it did for many, UXLibs changed the way I think about service development and customer feedback. What I learnt sparked interest and enthusiasm in innovative UX research methods to provide insights which would lead to service improvements and developments.

On my return I constantly emphasised how important this sort of research is and read more about it. I managed to gain senior buy-in by meeting with a number of people and writing a short paper which highlighted the research I wanted to undertake. Within a couple of months I was in a really great position to move forward. However, after a few more months the reality was that this just wasn’t happening. With an already busy schedule and a small team (at the time just me), finding time and getting willing participants always seemed to be a barrier. Perhaps it was a reflection of my commitment to moving forward in this area, perhaps it was a fear of failure in a relatively unknown field, or maybe there really just wasn’t enough time or people.

Following a departmental restructure I moved into Customer Services at the BJL and was given two new posts, an Online Coordinator (@mike_ewen ) and a Digital Library Services Officer ( to form a real Student Engagement team. This has placed me in a much better position to progress the work and my enthusiasm has been reignited. To an even greater advantage, I am now able to involve our large frontline team, which has sparked their interest and enthusiasm. By involving them in research that is clearly relevant to their daily roles and developing our services based on the insights they discover, I hope to gain further buy-in and bring them along for the ride, embedding UX research as an integral every day component in the work we are all involved in. I also hope that during their experiences of working with students in this way, they will gain insights that will change their understanding and perceptions of the students they interact with every day and enhance the student experience as a result.

So what are we doing?

We started off small, with some student journey mapping, from which we have produced a number of service improvements and recommendations. One example being simply to animate our Information Point screens when they are idle so that students have more information on what can actually be done at these points. You can read about the InfoPoints on my blog post.

Following this, we will be undertaking library cognitive mapping in early February before moving onto touchstone tours and photo diaries. I hope these will produce equally useful insights into service/building use and as mentioned, develop our frontline staff and enhance the general student experience as a result.

I am interested in how others have managed and analysed the data they obtain. I plan to code the cognitive maps using the method Andrew Asher (@aasher) describes on http://www.andrewasher.net/BiblioEthnoHistorioGraphy/coding-library-cognitive-maps/ and follow it up with short interviews to ensure there is a context around the maps. If anyone else has any advice or useful links, particularly how I might do this in NVivo please let me know. I would be more than grateful as it’s all a little new!

So, watch this space! I’ll keep you informed.

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