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Useful, Usable, Desirable: Applying User Experience Design to Your Library
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Useful, Usable, Desirable: Applying User Experience Design to Your Library

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  200 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Useful, usable, desirable, like three legs of a stool, if your library is missing the mark on any one of these it's bound to wobble. Every decision you make affects how people experience your library. In this useful primer, user experience (UX) librarians Schmidt and Etches identify 19 crucial touchpoints such as the library website, email, furniture, parking lot, events, ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published August 2014 by ALA Editions (first published January 1st 2014)
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3.96  · 
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 ·  200 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Oct 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ellen by: Ross Balharrie
This is not a book of new ideas, but it effectively brings together ideas of how to apply user experience to you library. There are very helpful check lists which could be used to investigate most areas of library service. For the library building section, in the Australian context, readers should also consider People places.

This is a useful book for people looking to improve the services provided in libraries.
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well organized with do-able, action items to improve library services. I especially liked the star ratings for how difficult different change plans will be.
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While I'm not in any position of authority in my library to make any of the changes suggested in this book, I can say these ideas gave me plenty to think about. Patrons come in every day and the way they interact with the library and its arrangement speak volumes about the kind of experience they receive and whether or not the space of the library is functional or conducive. Etches provides her reader with questions, structures, tools, and evaluative measures to determine whether or not one's li ...more
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is actually one of the best professional development books I have read in a while because it actually provides useful, practical suggestions rather than just floating above that with theory and reasoning as to why libraries need to improve.

The authors look at the various different aspects of library service, including physical space, service desks, policies & customer service, signage & wayfinding, online presence, and the collection. The focus is to look at how libraries can impro
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Whenever I started searching for information on applying holistic user experience design to libraries, all signs pointed to this book as the seminal work on this topic. I read it as part of an independent study that's also being influenced by management, customer service, and even web design materials, and I really appreciate how this book is a primer for tying those fields together in one neat volume. The greatest strength of Useful, Usable, Desirable: Applying User Experience Design to Your Li ...more
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Commonsense ideas that need revisiting - get rid of clutter! Simplify the user experience with quality signage and usable technology. Rethink the website and repurpose it for what patrons use it for most. The book also touches on ongoing issues - why don't our catalog search tools work as well as Amazon or Google? Do you find yourself looking to Amazon for the correct title and author spelling before entering it into your wonky search engine? Yes, you do. Our profession needs to focus on user ex ...more
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: design-art-ux
A book I would love all librarians to read. It is a nice overview of UX and how it fits in to the needs of your patrons as well as how to accomplish the tasks. It is a well organized and clear book, but it is focused more on public libraries and librarians in service points.
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
This is a wonderfully put together book. Each chapter focuses on an aspect of the library, how to assess your library and then suggestions on how to make improvements. The content is practical and universally applicable. It is well thought out and presented. I highly recommend this book for all librarians interested in improving their library.
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a very good read. It is aimed at all libraries, but it felt oriented a bit more toward public libraries. It would have been more useful for me had it focused just on academic libraries, but it still had a lot of good ideas and food for thought.
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: libraries
Really good rundown of how to take practical steps to improve the library user's experience.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it

Predictable but useful.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very useful and easy to implement suggestions for creating a more user friendly library.
Lexie Lawless
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Used this for an assignment, excellent guidelines on how to design a library to enhance the user experience. Will most definitely use this book for reference after I graduate.
Jen Johnson
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-science
Excellent practical and plain language guide that *SO* *MANY* libraries need. Background theory and explanations are covered but in the way that is just enough to show why it's important, not in an academic discussion sort of way. The self-test and difficulty ratings are a thoughtful addition to help guide both decision making and implementation. No design-shaming or condescension either, the authors of this book have hit just the right tone.
Chantelle Janelle
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
I have some serious issues with a few of the suggestions in this book. I think secret shoppers, for example, show a huge lack of trust and are a waste of time and resources at best and inspire paranoia at worst. I want a LOT of evidence that something like that is not detrimental to library staff. IMHO we can be user-focused without throwing staff under the bus. There were some interesting ideas, though, and the chapters towards the end are pretty good.
Marlon Hernandez
Apr 12, 2016 rated it liked it
It does have a few great ideas, namely the section of creating a style guide for every aspect of the library. But the scoring part feels tacked on. Sure that does make the library staff ask itself to honestly look at how they are serving the public but felt like filler. You can read it over a weekend as there are some sections that won't necessarily apply to your library. The short length plus the high price ($60 even at Amazon!) makes it difficult to recommend.
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am glad I could get this book from my public library because it is expensive! $65 from ALA. Once I was over the sticker shock I appreciated the explanation, layout, and rating systems. Anyone who is getting a library makeover, or making over a portion of a school or public library should peruse this resource.
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was primarily interested in chapter 7 (online presence), which is my specialty, and in that I gleaned nothing new. However, the book presents a good set of goals for improving user experience throughout the library and how one can assess existing services.
Liz De Coster
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lis
Ample good advice for placing the user at the center of the library experience. The authors give good suggestions for fixes big and small, and I might sit on some of these ideas for a while, to try to overcome my initial reaction that most of it wouldn't go over well at my place of work.
Mar 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Couple of minor issues with the structure. I happen to be somewhat at odds with the seamlessness & "don't make me think" schools of UX, but found a lot to like in the book nonetheless. More to come in a HLS review next week.
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
Excellent book that would be very useful to any library.
Mills College Library
025.1 S3491 2014
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book will be vital in helping improve my library's user experience. My fellow staff members and I are excited to use the tools and suggestions.
Dec 13, 2015 added it
A basic primer. I would have liked to see more research methodologies employed in this volume.
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The best library literature I've read. Super applicable to public libraries. Simply and clearly written. None of the usual bs library jargon. Useful, indeed.
Tina Panik
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: helps-with-work
A modern and fresh perspective on library services. Worth reading!
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: libraries
UX opportunities for all aspects of your library. The book has some obvious and some ingenious tips and includes a scoring rubric. I'll be referring to this book in the future.
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
So full of good ideas that it's actually kind of overwhelming.
Jul 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ux-web-content
This slim book hits the mark on library user experience design.
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Excellent resource for libraries!
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