People Interact

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

Monthly Archives: January 2013

It Is Now a Crime to Unlock Your Smartphone

smartphoneThe Atlantic  has just reported that “the most ridiculous law of 2013 (so far)” is about to go in affect this weekend.  Watch out perpetrators; it is now illegal to unlock your smartphone.

Unlocking, or jailbreaking, smartphones is a method used to make your phone available on other carriers. For example, before iPhones became available through Verizon and other companies, people would jailbreak their iPhones in order to be able to use their phone without being forced to commit to a 2 year contract with AT&T (then the only carriers of iPhones).

Hopefully this new law doesn’t spark the arrests of thousands (including grandma) like the 2003  Recording Industry Association of America lawsuit against people downloading from Kazaa, Napster and similar music sharing sites.

Caveat emptor.


Iowa City Public Library Approves Sleeping Ban

library sleepingThe Iowa City Public Library Board of Trustees recently passed a ban on sleeping in the library.  The sleeping ban came up in response to customer complaints. Contrary to common belief, the sleepers were not all homeless patrons and the ban will be enforced on everyone. 

While sleeping in the library is nothing new, it does bring up an important question; what is it about the library that puts people to sleep or invites them to sleep?

If libraries dug deeper into these questions it can become a potential user experience study that may result in some surprising conclusions and opportunities. Perhaps it is more than the silence that lures people to sleep.  After all, many libraries have dropped their archaic quiet policies and anyone entering libraries, especially public libraries, will find that they are actually quite noisy.

For example, a flow analysis of the building may give an idea of where people are going and where they are most commonly falling asleep.  Once we know this, a space analysis can be conducted and changes can be made.  Perhaps people are falling asleep in an area simply because it has dimmer lighting.

Anonymous surveys and questionnaires can also be implemented to find out why patrons are falling asleep.  Maybe we’ll discover that having a cafe that serves coffee will keep patrons awake or that maybe even ambient music like at Starbucks is all it takes to keep them awake.

Either way, Iowa City Public Library’s sleeping ban raises much broader questions than whether or not the ban is right or wrong.

Upcoming Presentation – Using E-Portfolios to Showcase Your Work, Experience and Skills

NY Librarians Meetup GroupJoin us and the NY Librarians Meetup Group on Tuesday, February 12 at 6pm for “Using E-Portfolios to Showcase Your Work, Experience and Skills“.

Upcoming Workshop – DIY Usability and User Experience: Is Your Library People-Focused?

Join us and the Rochester Regional Library Council on Tuesday, February 5 at 9am for the “DIY Usability and User Experience: Is Your Library People-Focused?” workshop.

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 how to 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.

New Year’s Resolution: What’s Your Career Strategy?

It’s a new year. Let’s talk about your career and your career strategy.

In many of our leadership and career development presentations, we talk about self-assessment and career strategy.

  1. Self-assessment: Do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis and set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals.
  2. Career strategy: People, professional brand, and online presence are three important aspects of your career strategy.

Here are some ideas and resources (from our presentations and blog posts) to get you started: