Smarter libraries: User experience (UX) in action

User Experience (UX) design is based on the idea that products and services should be designed with the user in mind. Many libraries have undertaken research that would fall under the umbrella of UX. Ethnographic research is a popular method in UX research, which includes, for example, the study of user behaviours related to information searching, how they use the library website and how they use and interact with library spaces. This could be done by observation, photo diaries and journal studies.


The Horizon Report 2017, Library Edition, lists trends which accelerate technology adoption in academic and research libraries, and one of them is the User Experience:


The term is applied to assess exchanges with websites, mobile devices, and operating systems, but libraries are also applying the same usability principles to physical spaces. Companies such as Amazon and Google are identifying patterns in users’ online behaviours to better tailor search results at the individual level. The result is a more efficient and personal experience for users.

UX is an ongoing process, the job of the UX researcher is never done. Smart libraries, therefore, need to prioritise and organise changes according to the levels of ease, time requirements and importance. Applying UX research means finding a balance between the library’s goals and opinions of their users.


Three sessions will focus on the following themes, all related to the user experience:


-              Smarter libraries through technology

-              Smart library design: Spaces and facilities
-              Using UX research for smarter services and resources