EAHIL 2017 – Running a workshop – internationally



During EAHIL 2016  in Seville – I got talking with Muharrem Yilman – librarian at the | University of Oslo: Medical Library, Ullevål Hospital.  We both have an interest in service development and user centred design.  We agreed to develop and host a workshop on User Experience for EAHIL 2017.

Distance was no object.  We submitted our abstract and waited with fingers crossed.  Once we got the ‘go ahead’ – via emails, Skype and a meeting when I was in Norway (on library business), we planned and developed our workshop.  We structured and timed the session, divided the areas between us and devised practical activities for attendees.

Prior to the start of EAHIL 2017 we contacted all attendees to welcome them in advance.   Then DUBLIN!.  Muharrem and I met up on the pre-workshop evening to go over the final details.

Workshop 11 – “User Experience (UX) Design for User-Centred Libraries – Thursday 15th June @11:00 – Muharrem and I were ready to go.

There was some setting up to do – laying out the room with flip charts, sets of coloured pens, Post – It notes  and sheaves of paper for each user.

UX workshops Dublin Eahil 2017 - b4 the start

UX workshops Dublin Eahil 2017 - b4 the start 3

The room where the workshop was held has historical significance.  Mary Robinson (Ireland’s first female president) signed the Declaration in this room.  Set into the centre of the table is a specially commissioned piece of glass commemorating this event.

We nervously waited for our participants to arrive.  Over 20 people attended representing 11 countries.

The aim of the workshop is to introduce user experience methods, which can be used in libraries to gain greater insight and depth into user needs and behaviour.  This information can then be used to develop library services and rethink the use of physical spaces.

After a short introduction to user experience and the methods were would be trying, the group began their first activity.

Graffiti Wall.  Flip charts were distributed around the room and questions were posed, requiring users to respond.  Everyone was then encouraged to walk around the room and look at the comments people had raised in relation to the library they worked in and then respond to the comments.

The next activity was a cognitive mapping exercise – drawing your library.  You have 6 minutes and every 2 minutes the pen is swapped for a different colour.  Highlighting what is drawn at a particular moment.  In small groups people shared information on their drawing.  In addition to examining what has been drawn – omissions from the drawing can be equally telling.  For example my first cognitive mapping of my library excluded users!  (Very common in the group I was in!).  For more information on cognitive mapping – click here

The final activity was writing a letter – either a love letter Love letter heart image

or break-up letter heart-1952347_1920

Each person wrote a letter to their library  – comfy chairs, PC area, document supply.  Then in small groups each person read their letter aloud, whilst the others listened.  The letter was read several times, allowing observers to note points made, observe vocal tones and body language.  Ideally this would then be used as a basis for a more in depth conversation /semi – structured interview which can be recorded.  We did not have time to take this forward in our workshop.  Further information on the letter writing technique can be found here.

UX workshops Dublin Eahil 2017

After some information on data analysis and decoding your results – we gave some examples of other UX methods for consideration and then lunchtime and the workshop had concluded.

The emphasis of our workshop was practical.  We both really enjoyed the planning and running the session.  Hearing the positive responses of our attendees and how they would use the techniques we have introduced to them was very encouraging.



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