People Interact

Blog about people-centered design by Lisa Chow and Sandra Sajonas.

Monthly Archives: January 2012

Everyday Usability: Subway Poles

I saw this subway pole on the train once and then never again. Let me know if you see it. The train car was pretty empty, but I think that this type of subway pole allows for more commuters to hold on to it compared to the regular one and may discourage the act of subway pole leaning, especially on crowded trains.

Thoughts? Subway stories to share?

Subway train pole

Check out more posts in the Everyday Usability series.

DIY Usability & User Experience Workshop at METRO on April 26th

We’re excited to be working with METRO on presenting the workshop “DIY Usability & User Experience Study: Is Your Library People Focused?“. Join us on Thursday, April 26th from 10am-1pm.

With budget cuts and staff shortages, libraries are asked to do more with less. As a result, libraries are increasingly using technology, self-service models and other trends to make services and processes more efficient. What tends to be overlooked is how these implementations affect the overall library experience for patrons and staff. Is it really more efficient and efficiency at what cost? Whether your library is looking to renovate, relocate, rebrand, or introduce a new service/program, people-centered design is crucial to the process.

In this DIY-style workshop, you will learn to how use people-centered design methods at your library to help you plan, coordinate, assess and evaluate your services and processes to ensure that they are cost- and time-efficient. While you may not have the staff, time, or funding to do a full-fledged library usability and user experience study; together, participants will experience how to use these methods to make small changes for a big impact. Filled with examples, case studies, and activities, participants will leave this workshop with the framework and tools for completing their own DIY usability study.

More info and registration.

I’m not sure if a book was intended to be used this way….

Recently, as Amazon announced over 13,000 free Kindle books available at your local library, I began to wonder if perhaps the doomsday prediction of the end of the books was in fact coming true. Then I saw this……

Door StopA couple questions crossed my mind:

1. Is this the future of books?

2. Should I be sad that a book has been demoted to door stopper?

3. Should I be happy that a book has been promoted to door stopper thereby exhibiting the multipurpose uses of a book?

4. Should I condemn whomever chose to violate the original intent of a book like this?

5. Should I admire the resourcefulness & ingenuity of whomever decided to put it there?

Truthfully reader, I’m in a conundrum and can use your opinion before I decide.

Quick Guide to Attending Library Conferences on the Cheap

Another year means another round of library conferences that offer opportunities for professional development and networking. Unfortunately, with increasing budget cuts and staff shortages, conference attendance support from your organization may be minimal or non-existent. Similar situation if you’re not working.

Image of piggy bank on book stack. Quick Guide to Attending Library Conferences on the Cheap

Here are some tips & tricks that I’ve picked up along the way (attended over 10 library conferences in the past five years) on attending library conferences on the cheap:

  1. Register at the student rate until you can’t anymore. 
  2. Apply for travel scholarships, grants and continuing education awards. Most library associations offer them for LIS students, recent graduates, new librarians, etc. Here’s a list from LISjobs to get you started. Also, look into your local and student chapters for scholarship opportunities.
  3. Apply for diversity, professional development and leadership programs. Extra program bonus is complimentary conference registration or conference sponsorship opportunities. Look into ALA Spectrum, ALA Emerging Leaders, ARL Diversity Scholars, and SLA Rising Stars.
  4. Submit proposals to present at conferences. Not only is it a great way to gain public speaking experience and share your knowledge, the registration fee may be reduced or waived for speakers. Also, your organization may be more likely to support your conference attendance if you’re presenting.
  5. Attend on work time. If your organization can’t provide funding support, ask if you can attend on work time.
  6. Crash at family/friends’ place or find hotel roommates. Also, consider staying at a cheaper hotel that is a little farther away from the conference but easily & quickly accessible via conference shuttle or public transportation.
  7. Be on the look-out for free conference exhibit passes. It will, at least, get you into the exhibits.
  8. Buy snacks at a local supermarket/store. You’ll want snacks to munch on when you get hungry and conference/convention center food tends to be blah-tasting and expensive.
  9. Be on the look-out for events and receptions with free food. Not only do you get food, they’re great networking opportunities. Also, some conferences such as SLA offer a free meal voucher.
  10. Crash. I have yet to try this one.

What are your tips and tricks on attending library conferences on the cheap?

New Year’s Resolution: Get Your LinkedIn in Shape

Earlier last year (March 2011), we shared some tips on how to maximize LinkedIn. This was around the same time LinkedIn announced that they reached 100 million members.

Now that it’s a new year, it’s time to get your LinkedIn in shape. Get started with the LinkedIn Boot Camp infographic from MindFlash.