Many of us who work in libraries or other organizations that serve the public spend quite a bit of time considering, ruminating, talking or discovering how to make better, stronger or more impactful services, experiences and products for our communities. Often when a new product or innovative service emerges (even if it is in a field not directly related to what we do), our thinking can be inspired or refreshed. With the unveiling of the iPad this week, ears and eyes all over the globe were perked and peeled, ready for inspiration. Along with the applause there came some notable criticism of this latest Apple offering that won’t be widely available for a couple of months. What can such an innovation or new product release teach us? An interesting post on 52 Weeks of UX, offers a suggestion: “what if the iPad simply isn’t for the people who are critiquing it?” The post goes on to remind us that our subjectivity can often lead us to believe that every new product (or experience?) needs to fit our own mold of what good means. This is a good reminder. Needs and expectations differ. This is why we do usability testing, observations and seek feedback (from all users, not only experts). Resounding applause or thundering critique doesn’t necessarily mean that a new service or product is a failure from the get-go. Let the people who will use a product or service again and again do the deciding. We can learn and adjust from that. The closing thought of the post is likely well worth the cost of a new iPad (maybe a little more):
Subjectivity, our inability to see as others do, can be a cruel master.
I’m gearing up to head to Honolulu, Hawaii to present at the Hawaii Library Conference 2009. One of my sessions will be all about library experiences, particularly the slant that Boulder Public Library is taking on this broad and increasingly interesting arena through our Pulse Point initiative.
Those that are attending the session on Pulse Points will get a lot of context for this image. What we know is that libraries and places of learning come alive when the people they are intended to to serve are engaged, intrigued or delighted in the process. By creating Pulse Points in your library or facility there is the opportunity to capture the imaginations and genius of both your customers and your staff.
With the Pulse Point initiative, we are really undertaking a way of creating more interesting experiences while at the same time learning much about our capacity to explore curiosity, creativity and new ideas. Flexibility and discovery…all wrapped up in a great branded effort!
Today I was a part of the webinar The Future of the Library User Experience hosted by Urban Library Council. The webinar featured Nate Bolt, user experience leader with Bolt Peters. A key item that Nate suggested is that in order to be craft more significant user experiences for library customers in the future it’s important that we are aware of 3 Principles:
- Open Architecture Wins
- Build Small
- Behavior not opinions
The third point rang out for me very strongly. How important it is to see actual behavior–evidence–to drive our programs, design and decisions. Nate suggested that we never utter these words: “tell me what you think about our Web site.” This open ended request–used in many circumstances (replace ‘Web site’ with a choice of other offerings or services) can easily open up a can of unactionable input. Act upon behavior–not words. So, to drive home the idea of ‘Behavior not opinions,’ I offer up this quote from Michael Schrage, Serious Play: How the World’s Best Companies Simulate to Innovate:
Behavior change matters more than technological changes. The most intriguing perspectives don’t come from looking at what these new toys can do, but from using them to see how people and their organizations behave.
How about this: behavior. consideration. action.