Recommended: “Why do they come? The Library as place and brand”

Why the students come to the Library?
Why don’t they stay at home and study?
Is a library without books still a library?
Why are the User Experience (UX) methods and research so important for the libraries?

These are few of the many interesting question that Cristian Lauersen (director of Roskilde University Library) asks in his blog, which I read few days ago.

The blog post is called “Why do they come? The Library as place and brand” and if you wonder what are the answers to all these questions, I recommend you to read it.

Link: https://christianlauersen.net/2017/10/17/why-do-they-come/

Visit to the Erasmus University Library

A few weeks ago I’ve visited the newly renovated Erasmus University Library in Rotterdam (EUR), together with my colleagues Karin and Nicoleta.
This is a short impression of that visit.
The first thing you’ll see when you enter the library is the clean and modern open staircase, which is the crown jewel of the renewed design. In fact, the staircase and the two entrances in front of the building are brand new. Before the renovation, the only entrance to the library was via walkway tunnel from the main building. On the wall next to the staircase you’ll see a beautiful tiled panel made by the students and staff. Climbing the stairs, on the way to the second floor, you’ll see “De Communicatiewand” made by the Dutch artist Wim Strijbosch. This art piece was preserved from the old building and fully restored during the renovation.

On the left side is a small chill area with comfortable chairs standing next to newly designed study spaces – each with own environment friendly led light and 2 electrical sockets.

The second half of the ground floor, which is separated by glass doors, is reserved for silent study spaces and there are a lot. This is a very good choice because during the exams period that’s what the students need the most – good and quiet study spaces.

When you arrive on the second floor you’ll find the information desk of the library but also the Self Service Library where you can return and borrow books without any staff assistance. Next to the information desk you’ll find the reading area where you can read books, magazines, newspapers and see the new library acquisitions. In the middle of the building is positioned the Rotterdamsch Leeskabinet – an association library working closely with the Erasmus university for the last 50 years serving its members but also the Erasmus students with its own special collection.

On this and on the second floor you’ll find also the book collections, which are placed in book cabinets not higher than 1.50 cm., which is really nice especially when you browse the collection with someone else – you can still talk to each other keeping an eye contact. Also a lot of books are placed with their covers facing the users, which is really great if you want to quick scan the collection.

There are a lot more innovative and interesting (and some very simple!) solutions to see in the EUR library – from the water tab where the students can quickly refill their water bottles (which is a must during the exam weeks) to the silent study cabins for one person and many, many more. So if you want to see them all I’ll advise you to visit the EUR library in person.
Short facts about EUR Library:
The library renovation lasted for 2.5 years before it opened for public on 29th of May this year offering around 900 study spaces for the students and 50 flex workspaces for the staff.

UX quiz question: Which entrance is users favourite- turning doors on the left or automatic door on the right?

Hint: check the usage of the doormats 😉

 

Snapshot: A Cambridge user experience (UX) study

Snapshot is a very interesting and highly detailed user experience (UX) study conducted by Andy Priestner and David Marshall from the Futurelib innovation programme at the Cambridge University Library. The main objective of this project was to explore and uncover the research and information behavior of the postdocs and PhD students. The team used a ‘cultural probe’ as preferred UX technique for this study. During the two week long research period the participants were asked to complete a lot of different interactive and creative tasks like for example – completing a daily research diary, photo study, cognitive mapping and more.
This approach helped the Futurelib team to get better, holistic view of how the participants accessed information, about their routines, the choices they made and most importantly, what opportunities there were to improve their experience of library services.

Some of the key findings the team discovered were for example: the importance of immediate peer community and inter-disciplinary collaboration for the participants. Another important discovery was the need for better visibility of the library online services but also the type of support, expertise and assistance that the library staff can offer to the researchers.

This May, Andy will help bring existing UX practices to the next level at the TU Delft Library together with the Library R&D team.

You can read the full rapport here: http://bit.ly/thesnapshotreport

Source: Futurelib blog, Snapshot rapport

 

Luxafor, status & productivity tool

Imagine this. You are sitting in the office, trying to concentrate. Slowly you are getting in the flow and you are confident that you’ll finish your work on time today but then… co-worker walks in your room asking “Can I borrow your phone charger?”. “Of course” you reply, handling over the charger to your colleague.
Sounds familiar, right? But as a result of this interruption you lose your focus and it takes you another 25 minutes to get in the flow again.

This is a very common problem at co-working environments and there are always people and companies who are trying to find a good solution for it. One of these companies is called Luxafor. They designed a small LED light (also called Luxafor) that you can easily attach to your device and show your status to others.

This is how the Luxafor led light works: the user connects the Luxafor to his computer via usb or bluetooth. Once connected, the light show to all team members approaching your workplace your availability. When you are available, Luxafor shines green and when your are busy it shines red. For more detailed information watch the video below.

According to the company, this very simple visual tool could save you a lot of precious time just by keeping you focused on your important tasks.Luxafor

Luxafor will be available in 3 different models : Mini, Flag and Bluetooth,
if the project succeed to get the required fundings in Kickstarter.

Source: The VergeKickstarter.

UXLib II conferentie; een kleine impressie

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 21.53.07

Eind juni heb ik de UXlibs (User eXperience in libraries) conferentie bezocht. Deze 2de editie van UXLib vond plaats in thestudio , een multi-purpose gebouw met prachtig ontworpen conferentieruimtes in het hartje Manchester (UK).

thestudio, manchester

Er waren ongeveer 150 collega’s uit verschillende landen aanwezig. De oprichter van deze conferentie is Andy Priestner. Hij werkt momenteel als manager van het Cambridge Library Futurelib innovatieprogramma en is ook trainer en consultant in het hoger onderwijs.

Het programma bestond uit keynotes van Donna Lanclos (Atkins library, UNC Charlotte) en Lawrie Philpps (JISC), praktische workshops, een Team Challenge, maar de belangrijkste focus lag op de sessies genaamd “Nailed, Failed, Derailed”, waar bibliotheek collega’s resultaten van hun UX onderzoek van afgelopen jaar met elkaar deelden.

cultural probe UXLibs
Cultural probe onderzoeksproject voor studenten

Het gebruik van UX (user experience) onderzoek in de bibliotheken is van groot belang. UX onderzoek kan ons helpen om veel problemen op te lossen en veel beter begrip van onze gebruikers te krijgen. De gebruiker wil niet leren hoe de bibliotheek werkt, hij wil de bibliotheek gebruiken. Het gebruik van UX methoden (oa etnografie, design thinking, human-centered design) stelt ons in staat om de kloof tussen de bibliotheek (en de diensten die wij aanbieden), en de gebruikers te dichten. UX betreft niet alleen survey of het aanbieden van goede klantenservice: alleen weten van onze gebruikers ze nodig hebben en willen is niet genoeg. Door observatie van hun gedrag krijgen we pas een volledig beeld. We moeten de resultaten van ons UX onderzoek gebruiken om nieuwe producten en diensten te creëren en niet alleen om rapporten te schrijven. Bibliotheken moeten deze resultaten delen met elkaar en blijven experimenteren. Ze moeten bestaan in een netwerk en niet losstaand van elkaar.

Als een rode draad tijdens de “Nailed, Failed, Derailed” sessies , de keynote’s en tijdens de hele conferentie in algemeen, werd gesproken over tegenvallers–mislukte projecten, mislukte onderzoeken. Het is niet erg als iets mislukt, leer van je fouten en probeer het vooral opnieuw.

Ik heb een aantal “Nailed, Failed, Derailed” sessies kunnen bezoeken:

  1. Paul-Jervis Heath (ModernHuman, Futurelib) – gaf een presentatie over hoe je UX succes kunt vergroten door op een veilige wijze je tegenvallers te omarmen tijdens het ontwerp proces.
  2. Eva-Christina Edinger (Universität Zürich) – gaf en presentatie over hoe bibliotheekruimtes soms op labryinths en gesloten gemeenschappen lijken;
    presentatie Eva UXLibs
    Links of rechts? Foto:Eva-Christina Edinger
  3. Josephine McRobbie & Andreas Orphanides (North Carolina State University) – hadden een gezamenlijke presentatie over hun uitdagingen om de communicatie kanalen (denk aan e-boards, mapen, borden) binnen hun gebouw te verbeteren.
  4. Phil Cheeseman & Karin Tusting (Lancaster University)– spraken over een innovatief project dat nog in ontwikkeling is. Ze wilden graag met behulp van beacons antwoord krijgen op de volgende vragen: hoe navigeren de studenten in de Library? Hoe maken de studenten gebruik van de studieruimtes? Het project mislukte bijna volgens Phil omdat het verwerken van de grote bulk data een uitdaging was, maar hij was ook optimistisch over het bereiken het uiteindelijke resultaat.

Opvallend tijdens de UXLib conferentie was dat er veel collega’s waren die geïnteresseerd waren in het gebruik van beacons in hun bibliotheken o.a. bovengenoemde Phil Cheesman , Paul-Jervies Heath. Toen ik hen vertelde dat wij vorige jaar onze beacon Library Tour hebben gelanceerd waren ze aangenaam verast en ze wilden graag kennis en informatie uitwisselen.

De Team Advocacy Challenge bestond uit 3 thema’s.

  • Marketing Upwards (promoten van de UX aan senior managers)
  • Collaboration (promoten van UX aan collega’s buiten je eigen team of bibliotheek)
  • Recruitment (rekruteren van gebruikers voor je UX research project)

Uit elk thema werd een winnende team gekozen. De uiteindelijke 3 winnende teams moesten hun pitch opnieuw presenteren voor de hele conferentie.

IMG_1913
De winnende recruitment team aan het werk

Ik was zelf ingedeeld in de Recruitment team en we hebben gewonnen. Wij hebben een leuke (intrinsiek) manier bedacht om studenten te betrekken bij het ontwikkelen van een nieuwe ruimte in de bibliotheek.

Hetgeen hier boven beschreven staat is maar een kleine impressie van de conferentie. Het is onmogelijk om alles in een verslag weer te geven. Zeer inspirerend en interactief, UXLibs is een conferentie die je vooral persoonlijk moet ervaren.

Mocht je meer willen weten over de conferentie (of wil je ook een foto impressie zien van gerenoveerde Central Library of Manchester ;-)), neem contact met mij op. Ik heb veel informatie verzameld en praat je graag bij.

 

 

TNW Europe (part 5), Building a World Class Design Team

TNWConf2016

The 11th annual TNW Conference Europe took place on May 26 & 27 in Amsterdam. Described, as “The most intimate technology festival on the planet” by CNBC, over the years TNW Conference has become one of the leading technology events in the world. It’s organized by Dutch based online media company The Next Web and brings promising startups, investors, technology gurus, innovators and entrepreneurs together. It’s a great place to share their thoughts about the future of technology, marketing, talk about design or for networking, to get inspired or to boost your imagination.


UnknownAndy Budd talked about the importance of design and the challenges to achieve good design.
Good design is difficult to achieve and even harder to replicate. It gives you an advantage against your competitors. Company founders generally think that they understand the value of the design, but in the reality the user experience is poor. There are 2 factors for this mismatch.

  1. People believe that style and design is the same thing.
  2. Start-up’s doesn’t understand the value of design. Before they reach market fit- the time or the budget is already speeded.

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These are Andy Budd’s nine tips on how to build a world-class design team:

  1. Commit to a vision designers can get behind
  2. Hire great design leaders
  3. Demonstrate this vision through exemplar projects
  4. Put customer needs at the heart of the process
  5. Weave design into the fabric of the business
  6. Create a culture of collaboration
  7. Invest in quality
  8. Grow your team from the inside
  9. Operationalize design

Curious? or you want to see in-debt explanation of Andy Budd’s nine tips?
You can watch now the whole presentation on YouTube

P.S. Speaking about good design, you should definitely check the very beautiful storytelling platform for exploring The Wellcome Trust’s eclectic collection of medical and historical artefacts made by Clearleft.

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 16.44.11
Digital Stories: Wellcome collection

Also very interesting: A step-by-step | The design process of this storytelling platform.

Clear left Design Stories

Photo credit:TNW

TNW Europe (part 4), Future UI as Professional Superpower

TNWConf2016
The 11th annual TNW Conference Europe took place on May 26 & 27 in Amsterdam. Described, as “The most intimate technology festival on the planet” by CNBC, over the years TNW Conference has become one of the leading technology events in the world. It’s organized by Dutch based online media company The Next Web and brings promising startups, investors, technology gurus, innovators and entrepreneurs together. It’s a great place to share their thoughts about the future of technology, marketing, talk about design or for networking, to get inspired or to boost your imagination.


763a135d-eafa-41a1-9392-fe99b493e41bJohn Underkoffler, founder and CEO of Oblong Industries talked about the new UI (User Interface) as professional power-the future of workspace technology. He is actually the guy who designed the futuristic and advanced UI for the film Minority Report 14years ago (!)

For the last 30 years, the UI (user interface) has changed a little. We live in computational world that becomes more and more complex.
UI is all you have; UI is the computer, because without UI you can’t control the CPU or GPU of your computer.
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John Underkoffler shared with us his “Eight easy pieces”, his vision for the future of UI.

  1. Let’s explode the displays- what will happen if every set of pixels wasn’t bound by the physical rectangle?
  2. G –speak – Minority Report alike system without the visual effects
  3. Distributed (everything) – extend the UI of the edge of one screen to the next one if they are close enough. Expect border free UI’s
  4. Bidirectional glyphs – get more expressive with the UI elements. We need to know where we are, what the machine thinks we are doing and where we might go.
  5. Cinema as input/output device – cinematic heresy or the future of editing? A metaphor for how powerful UI should make you in the context of all your digital data.
  6. Cognition at architectural scale – see more through the right scale. Build computers small or big, as we need!
  7. Time to reinterpret – Minority report reinterpreted. With a proper UI a team of collaborators can achieve much more, work faster and better.
  8. Make UI an exoskeleton, an extension of the human will.

Oblong built a system called Mezzanine that uses all eight principles mentioned above. Mezzanine changes how people work together by making the workspace more collaborative, easily sharable and scalable.

Oblong-Mezzanine-Video-Conferencing-Solution

“We want to build systems based on principles of humanity that can enhance your attention, amplify human meaning and get out what people are best at which is making new things and building the world the way it ought to be.”

The whole presentation is now also available on YouTube
Photo credit:TNW, Oblong

TNW Europe (part 3), Building with creative confidence

TNWConf2016

The 11th annual TNW Conference Europe took place on May 26 & 27 in Amsterdam. Described, as “The most intimate technology festival on the planet” by CNBC, over the years TNW Conference has become one of the leading technology events in the world. It’s organized by Dutch based online media company The Next Web and brings promising startups, investors, technology gurus, innovators and entrepreneurs together. It’s a great place to share their thoughts about the future of technology, marketing, talk about design or for networking, to get inspired or to boost your imagination.


 

facebooknewJulie Zhuo from Facebook talked about how to build new products and services with creative confidence. That can be a real challenge even for big company like Facebook.

There is no book with instruction how to build the perfect product but they’ve learned a lot from their successes and failures.

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Facebook developed a simple framework consisting of 3 questions, which they use for reviewing new products.

The first question is:

  1. What people problem are we trying to solve?
    To answer this we need a people problem statement but coming up with a good one is not that easy. The good people problem statement must be:
  • Human, simple, straight forward;
  • Solutions free; – to avoid bias
  • It’s shouldn’t be about us (Facebook) winning.
  • Gets at the why;
  • Functional, emotional, social.
  1. How do we know this is a real problem?
    What evidence do we have? Is it worthwhile to solve?
  1. How do we know if we solved the problem?
    Define measurable goals and metrics.

Julie shares interesting inside fact: There are posters on the walls in Facebook HQ that says, “Nothing at Facebook is somebody else’s problem”

“It reminds us that if something doesn’t work well, we can’t wait. We must take action to develop solution to fix that problem.” said Julie Zhuo.

The whole presentation is now also available on YouTube
Photo credit:TNW

TNW Europe (part 2), Google’s secret sauce

TNWConf2016
The 11th annual TNW Conference Europe took place on May 26 & 27 in Amsterdam. Described, as “The most intimate technology festival on the planet” by CNBC, over the years TNW Conference has become one of the leading technology events in the world. It’s organized by Dutch based online media company The Next Web and brings promising startups, investors, technology gurus, innovators and entrepreneurs together. It’s a great place to share their thoughts about the future of technology, marketing, talk about design or for networking, to get inspired or to boost your imagination.


google-new-logoGoogle’s director of product Aparna Chennapragada talked about how to build the mobile products of the future. Is there a recipe or special formula to do that? Google have a sauce, a secret sauce and it looks like this:

Secret sauce = AI+UI+I

Daily we use a lot of different products like Google Search, Google Translate, Goggle Now, YouTube (…. and many more). All of them have something in common. They are all powered by information (in many cases AI and machine learning in various forms). But why is this fact more relevant now than ever?
The answer is simple ”one word …Mobile” said Aparna.

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Mobile is the game changer. With 3 billion plus phones we produce daily a massive input of useful data that can help improve these products. Mobile changes the game on the output side as well. Nowadays we always carry our phones and that gives us access to products and services in situations and context that we never had before (like in the car for example). If you combine these two things together almost every other real-world problem has a chance to turn into software or more importantly AI problem.

Google’s formula solves this problem.

AI (Artificial Intelligence)+UI (User Interface)+I (Personalization)

The formula in depth:

 AI (Artificial intelligence)

There are 3 observations about AI

  1. Use AI for tasks that are easy for the machines but difficult for people.
    Google Translate is a good example for that
  2. Wow vs. WTH (what the hell!!!) ratio – If AI sends you to the wrong airport gate and you mist your flight (WTH) the product will need a lot Wow’s to make up for that WTH moment.
  3. Training shapes the learning – AI is as good as the training data. When overtime the data improves, the AI improves too.

UI (Interface)

  1. UI needs to be proportionate to the confidence in AI – Strong AI needs less UI and vice-versa
  2. Magic vs. Prediction trade-off– people tend to choose for predictable but slower approach instead of faster “magical” solution.
  3. User feedback is very important for improvements of the system but hard to get nowadays. For example: Google Now question “Will it rain this weekend?” gives no feedback to the system.

I (Personalisation) 

  1. Make the benefits clear and immediate- people will not use products that only promise benefits in a long run
  2. Allow users to teach – ask you users to help (when possible!)
  3. Who are your users – it is important to know who your users are. What will work for specific users in US will not automatically work in India.

The whole presentation is now also available on YouTube
Photo credit:TNW

TNW Europe (part 1), Trend-driven innovation

TNWConf2016

 

 

 

 

 


The 11th annual TNW Conference Europe took place on May 26 & 27 in Amsterdam. Described, as “The most intimate technology festival on the planet” by CNBC, over the years TNW Conference has become one of the leading technology events in the world. It’s organized by Dutch based online media company The Next Web and brings promising startups, investors, technology gurus, innovators and entrepreneurs together. It’s a great place to share their thoughts about the future of technology, marketing, talk about design or for networking, to get inspired or to boost your imagination.


tw-logoOne of the first speakers was David Mattin from Trendwatching.com and he gave an interesting presentation about trend-driven innovation and how to turn overwhelm into opportunity.

Nowadays we are overwhelmed, with the fast pace of upcoming new innovations, new services and products, it’s difficult to keep-up because they are arriving on daily or even hourly basis. These innovations and new services create new customer expectations and they are the drive behind the expectation economy. Good example for that is a newcomer like Uber who change the customer expectation in the taxi business (cabs arrive within 10 minutes).

As innovators, the important question that we must ask ourselves is:
“What will our customers want next?”

But how to do that?

  1. Asking people what they want is limited. They don’t know what they need until you show it tot them.
  2. Find out by watching them is too expensive and time consuming
  3. By analyzing consumer data – good for validation and enhancing but not for breakthrough innovation.

The real answer is:
“Stop looking at customers and start looking at successful businesses and the expectations they create”, said Mattin.

“It’s about the new expectations that this innovations create and when this expectation spread across borders, market, demographics then we are seeing a trend in action. Watching that happening is what Trend watching actually is.
“Trends emerge as innovators address people’s basic human needs and wants in novel ways”

A few examples that can lead us to a new trend:

  1. Stockholmståg – Algorithm anticipates train delays hours before they occur and the emerging trend is Beneficial intelligence – consumers will embrace digital services that make truly smart decisions for them.
  2. REI outdoor retailer – On Black Friday, a day of shopping frenzy in the US, REI outdoor retailer pays employees to take a day off to spend… outdoors (with heavy social media coverage #OptOutside) and encourages its customers to do the same.
    The emerging trend is Insider Trading – the right internal culture becomes an external asset.
  3. Renrenxiang – restaurant replaces staff with messaging app. The emerging trend is Informal info – effective information is informal information.

What if some of these innovations fail? Asked Mattin next.
It’s not about success or failure; it ‘s again about customer expectations.

For example: There are 3 new mobile phones, which have a great new features – the first is very secure, the second is highly recyclable and the third interchangeable. Only by seeing them, these phones will create new customer expectations, and companies like Apple and Samsung know that and are already innovating to meet those expectations.

The big wave of innovations and services can be really overwhelming, so if you look at those innovations though the lens of new customer expectations, the more innovation you see the more empowered you are to discover your own trends and soon that becomes habit, new way of seeing the world. The next step is to apply those trends, and if you can do that then you are really a trend-driven innovator concludes Mattin.

The whole presentation is now also available on YouTube.

ReFlex – the future of e-books?

A few weeks ago, The Queens University Media Lab released a prototype of a flexible smartphone called ReFlex, so far… nothing special.
Nowadays, almost weekly somewhere on the globe, some unkown company with exotic name is releasing the latest model smartphone.…but the The ReFlex is different!

What immediately grabbed my attention were the techniques used in this prototype – flexible OLED display, bend sensors and haptic feedback.
Translated into human language that means that when you read e-book on the ReFlex you can flip the pages of the book just by bending the screen and the haptic feedback will give you a sensation like you’re flipping a real book.The more you bend the faster the pages flip and vice-versa.The haptic feedback will also give you more precise “eyes-free navigation”.

The researchers expect that the commercial devices will be available within 5 years or maybe sooner…(1)

I think that, if well developed and widely produced, in the future this techniques can have a huge impact not only on how we interact with our smartphone’s but also with other digital devices like for example e-readers like Kindle, iPad or other tablets.

Is this the innovation that will finaly make the difference between digital and analog reading experience smaller or just another fun prototype?
Only time will tell….

Bron: (1) Engadget

De tech trends van CES 2016

ces

De International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is een grote technologiebeurs die elk jaar in januari wordt gehouden in Las Vegas sinds 1967. Door de jaren heen is CES een goede voorloper van alle technologie trends van het komend jaar geworden.

Dit zijn de grootste trends voor dit jaar:

Veel retro en nostalgie producten zijn zeer populair bij het publiek geworden. Zoals platenspelers (”vinyl is back”) of fotocamera’s die ala Polaroid direct je gemaakte foto kunnen uitprinten of de analoge Kodak Super 8 videocamera die gebruik maak van ouderwetse film (ontwikkelen van de film is in de prijs inbegrepen)

De meest besproken producten van vorig jaar waren: Wearables, 3D printers en drones. Dit jaar zijn de rollen een beetje omgedraaid. Wearables lijken minder populair te zijn maar dat is misschien omdat iedereen er al een heeft. Dezelfde geldt ook voor de 3D printers die nu op elke hoek van de beurs te zien waren. De drones aan de andere kant zijn populairder en veelzijdiger geworden dan vorig jaar. Er was zelfs een drone bij de beurs die 1 persoon kon vervoeren.

Maar de grootste ster van de technologiebeurs is The Internet of Things. Vooral de technologieën die gebruikt worden voor The Internet of Things en de Smart Homes zijn aanzienlijk beter geworden.  Wat ook opmerkelijk is: de subtiele verschuiving tussen het maken van een apparaat en het ontwerpen van diensten hiervoor. The Internet of Things zal de komende tijd meer over diensten gaan dan de apparaten zelf.

Genoeg ontwikkelingen waar we enthousiast van kunnen worden.