People Interact

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

Monthly Archives: June 2012

Free College Counseling

Forget business school, forget law school, forget medical school. The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about the next hot thing… Or for those of you who don’t habla espanol, design school.

Stanford University’s — the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design has collected accolades on its “design thinking” program. Instilling design thinking methodology, project management and problem solving skills in its students, the is equipping its graduates with some essential skills necessary for the working world that few schools can brag about.

SLA 2012: Picks from a SLA Rising Star

SLA 2012 is less than a month away. Here are some of my picks for this year’s SLA conference in Chicago:

sla 2012

Rising Stars and SLA Fellows Roundtable – Monday, July 16 @ 10am
Join us for the 3rd annual Rising Stars and SLA Fellows roundtable. Due to schedule conflicts, I wasn’t able to participate in last year’s roundtable. I’m looking forward to participating in this year’s.

Reinventing Library Skills – Monday, July 16 @ 4pm
Mary Talley will moderate a panel consisting of case studies and practical advice for transporting library skill sets to other areas of the LIS profession or entirely different careers.

Chocolate Reception – Monday, July 16 @ 8pm
It’s a reception with chocolate. There’s nothing more to say. I wonder if there will be chocolate ice cream – it is July in Chicago.

From Info Pro to Info Hero: 5 Easy Ways to Turn Information into Insight – Tuesday, July 17 @ 8am
Mary Ellen Bates will talk about five ways to provide more insight and value in what you send your clients.

Lincoln Park Networking Lunch – Tuesday, July 17 @ 12pm
Free lunch. Networking opportunity. Only wish: lunch in actual park.

User Experience Caucus Roundtable Meeting – Wednesday, July 18 @ 10am
Check out the newest caucus in SLA. This is the 2nd User Experience Caucus meeting.

More SLA 2012 picks.

Order Your Next Dine-In Meal Via A Screen

Screen at restaurantLast week, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article – “Screens Get a Place at the Table: Restaurants Try to Make It Easier to Pay, Keep Kids Entertained; Bigger Tips for Electronic Waiters?“. A number of chain restaurants are “using or testing small, interactive computer screens at the table. Diners can see glossy pictures of food, order menu items, and pay a check without a waiter.”

Increasingly, more organizations and companies, including libraries, are implementing self-service models, like this one, in order to make their processes and services more efficient.

The question is not whether the technology works, although that is important; some questions are:

  • Is it really making the processes and services more efficient? Are they (the company or organization) doing a task flow analysis?
  • How does this affect the overall experience for both customers and employees? Are they observing? Are they talking to people?
  • What happens when a problem or issue comes up? For example, what if I want a different kind of soup? Or I don’t want a particular ingredient added to my dish? Is there a simple and easy way to do that? Are they doing an error analysis? You can do a combined task and error analysis. 
  • Are people given the option to use the screen or talk to a waiter/waitress? People like to have options. Banks still have tellers. Supermarkets still have cashiers. 

This isn’t about being pro- or anti- technology or self-service models. It’s about people. It’s about how organizations and companies implement and evaluate the changes to service models to ensure that not only do they make processes and services more efficient, but that they are people-centered. You can’t go wrong when you focus on people.