User Centered Design: The New Card Catalog for the Digital Information Age

The Kansas City Public Library just posted a new position: User Centered Design Specialist

I love that we’re doing this! I know that it’s become something of a cliché to talk about UX, but the simple fact of the matter is that user experience and interaction design are only going to become more important as we proceed in our Digital Information Age.

The landscape of information access is undergoing radical evolution. We have a wider variety of information accessing technology than ever before: desktop computers, laptops, tablets, smart phones, gaming systems – with different operating systems and coding platforms for each. More importantly, these technologies have created a near-infinite variety in points of access – wherever we can carry our devices (and still have signal) we can access information at will.

No longer are we tethered to a building or a desk or any other physical space when we want to look something up. No longer are we restricted to specialized spaces when we want to use information.

This fundamentally alters the way patrons value and interact with information. Context matters; as points of access grow more various, we’re seeing a wider variety of situational context affecting patrons’ expectations of information.

No other factor influences the success or failure of information access and interaction more than the design of the user interface – everything from the back-end search structure, to aesthetics. Bad design = unsuccessful access. Unsuccessful access = loss of utility and loss of patrons.

Interaction and user experience design are as important to libraries in the Digital Information Age as the card catalog was to previous generations. It’s how our patrons find what they need.

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1 thought on “User Centered Design: The New Card Catalog for the Digital Information Age”

  1. Couldn’t agree more! This is a great primer in UX, and — more important — a case for why public libraries need to pay more attention to it!

    -@jasonfharper

    Like

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