People Interact

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

Monthly Method Spotlight: Desirability Testing

Desirability Testing

What: Desirability testing studies users’ emotional response to a design.

When/why: This method is most useful when you are trying to make a good first impression with your target audience. Desirability testing can be used to inform the team as to why different designs evoke certain responses.

How: Using limited, chosen vocabulary, ask users’ to picks words that most relevantly describe the design. Use a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods like triading, questionnaires, and card sort.

Tips: See Microsoft’s reaction cards for a list of 118 pre-selected descriptor words.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for information.


Digital Universities

Recently, I read an article in The Guardian discussing university libraries providing more accessible services and collections for the growing “digital native” student body. While I agree that university libraries need to shift their emphasis from physical library space to the digital realm, I do think they should keep UX in mind. Not just usability of the platforms but consider UX from the beginning; do “digital natives” even want everything online? Are there content and services they would prefer in analog?

Which brings me to another recent article bringing up Google’s project to digitize millions of university library books. This was an incredibly ambitious project that started in 2002 that even the Google gods couldn’t achieve. But why should they? Again I ask, do users even need or want digital access to all the university holdings?

Since library resources are finite, perhaps we should first start with some UX studies (surveys, focus groups, interviews, etc) of the current and incoming university students to see what they want and expect from their university library.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Monthly Method Spotlight: Experience Prototype

Experience Prototype

What: Experience prototype is a simulation of the service experience.

When/why: By asking participants to simulate the experience, designers can look for any unanticipated issues or needs that arise during the simulation.

How: Quickly prototype a concept using available materials & ask participants to try it out.

Tips: Create your prototype quickly & don’t worry about it being perfect. The idea is that you will improve and build upon your prototype. See our other posts on prototyping.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for information.

Wandering Librarian: Portsmouth Public Library

Wandering up the coast to America’s 3rd oldest city for July 4th, I stopped into the Portsmouth Public Library. Expecting a venerable building, I instead found a newish building. My disappointment was quickly assuaged upon entering the building. I was immediately met with an open and airy room with cozy seating areas, fantastic book displays and beautiful floral arrangements.

The 1st floor teen space is adequate as are the teen programs. The children’s section on the 1st floor is large. The children’s programs are also large in number & make up for most of the programs (which I’m discovering is common outside of NYC).

Some fun summer program highlights: Reading therapy dog, reading buddies (pair a new reader with an experienced reader) and a how-to festival to learn new skills.

My main takeaway from my visit: Portsmouth Public Library does a fantastic job of covering all the technology needs of its patrons from “old” technology like typewriters and microfilm machines to new technology like its 3D printers. The library also offers classes & 1-on-1 services to assist patrons with their digital & tech needs.

All in all, a fantastic library that’s worth a visit. I only wish I had more time for a more in-depth visit.



Wandering Librarian: National Archives at NYC

On a hot summer day, I wandered into the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House which houses the National Archives at NYC and the National Museum of the American Indian among other things.

The National Archives at NYC maintains “the historically significant records of Federal agencies and courts in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands dating from 1685 to the present.”


I mainly looked at the exhibit display cases to the left of the welcome center where I learned more about the National Archives and the history of NYC. There is the research center to the right of the door pictured. While I did not do research during my visit, I found the staff and volunteers to be friendly and welcoming.

Admission is free, so if you’re in the NYC area, stop in and check it out.


Monthly Method Spotlight: Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s LawParkinson's_Law_Book

What: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” is Parkinson’s Law. It is the title of a book which made it well-known.

When/why: Remember when you were in school and you worked on an assignment the last minute when you had weeks to work on it, yet somehow you aced it anyway. Yes, it might have been luck or Parkinson’s Law might have been at play. This is not to say that procrastination is good, but when you have too much time to complete a task, many of us are bound to procrastinate. Sometimes it doesn’t take as long as you think to complete a project or task successfully.

Keeping Parkinson’s Law in mind when working on project tasks, milestones, and timelines is useful. When you are working on a project, keep in mind that if you drag the project out too long, you not only lose momentum but the work somehow expands to fill the time available. This is not to say that one should rush a project, but one should keep this law in mind when assigning, working on, or delegating project tasks.

How: Underestimate the time it will take to complete the project among your internal team. This is not about over promising and under delivering. It’s about setting challenging but realistic deadlines for your projects and for each project task. A mild sense of urgency is a good thing. Say, for example, you’re working on a book chapter or presentation. The deadline is in 3 months. Set a deadline of having a first draft in two weeks and asking a colleague to look it over, followed by a revised second draft by the third week, etc.

Tips: Decide what needs to be done and by when. Schedule the time you’re allotting for the task. Focus on the task at hand. Avoid distractions. Perfection is the enemy of progress, the task needs to be completed successfully, not necessarily perfectly.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for information.

METRO UX Summer Meetup: Amazon Books Self-Guided Tour

Amazon just opened its first NYC brick and mortar store at Columbus Circle. Join us for our informal summer METRO UX meetup where we’ll do a self-guided tour of Amazon Books. Afterwards, we’ll head to Central Park for a picnic or Whole Foods (if bad weather) and discuss our observations and thoughts over lunch. Feel free to bring a brown bag lunch.

Thursday, July 27 at 10am-12pm
The Shops at Columbus Circle located at 10 Columbus Circle
Meet at 10am in front of Amazon Books located on the 3rd floor of the Shops at Columbus Circle.


Subway Library – Free Downloadable Books from NYC Libraries

A library on the subway? Yep, the Subway Library is offering free downloadable books from the city’s three public library systems. Be on the lookout for the subway library train. I spotted it across the tracks the other day but I was going in the opposite direction.

Wandering Librarian: Amazon Bookstore at Columbus Circle

This was completely unplanned yet feels coordinated, I guess that’s what partners in crime do 🙂 While my partner in crime, Sandra, came across the yet to be opened 34th st location for the Amazon bookstore last week, I made my way to the already opened Amazon bookstore in the Shops at Columbus Circle while on my hunt for the NYC Wave Walk (sea-inspired sculptures on display in NYC through the end of June); I’ve seen 14 so far.

Here’s a photo slideshow of my visit to Amazon Books at Columbus Circle:

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My initial impressions and observations:

  • The bookstore is pretty well-staffed and the staff were all very friendly, saying hello and/or asking if I need any help.
  • There’s a big push with Amazon Prime as that was a commonly asked question: Do you have Amazon Prime?
  • I overhead one staff member who was trying to track down a book. Not sure if there is initial inventory things to be ironed out.
  • There are limited seating areas with a sprinkling of a few comfy chairs throughout.
  • It was a very visual and browser friendly experience with all the book covers displayed.
  • It was a fairly busy Monday evening, perhaps because it was raining. There were a few people reading, lots of people browsing.

And as for what brought me to Columbus Circle – the hunt for the wave sculptures, I saw 6 of them there, but my favorite NYC Wave Walk sculpture so far is the Sea Glass near the Intrepid.


Wandering Librarian: Amazon Bookstore

This post is based on the yet to be opened 34th street location. 

Recently in midtown Manhattan I discovered that Amazon would be opening a brick-&-mortar book store this spring.

From what I’ve read, these stores (soon to be 6 more in the USA) will be data-driven; meaning they will be holding only the most popular books based on Amazon ratings. The stores will also honor its website prices.

At the time, I was not aware that Amazon would be opening in the old Borders in Columbus Circle the next day. If any of our faithful readers have visited the Columbus Circle location please share your thoughts on your visit.

As for me, this wandering librarian is looking forward to the next time she wanders into NYC for a first-hand visit to the store.


One Month Later and Yarn Bombing at METRO Relaunch

We visited METRO’s headquarters last week (a month later since our METRO UX Meetup) and it was great to see the implementation of some ideas and suggestions from the hands-on UX study (including the addition of plants and METRO signage on door).

We were there to capture the Fiber Arts Group‘s yarn bombing project (plus origami cranes made from colorful origami paper and discarded library books, inspired by METRO’s post-it note bird and cranes on glass surface), which was timed to coincide with METRO’s relaunch party that evening. Check out the photos below.



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The Fiber Arts Group meets weekly at the Central Library in Brooklyn on Wednesday evenings.


Monthly Method Spotlight: Contextual Inquiry

Contextual Inquiry

When/why: Contextual inquiries are more natural and sometimes more realistic as a result. They are also usually less formal and don’t use tasks or scripts.

How: Researchers watch & listen as users work in the user’s own environment instead of a lab.

Tips: Contextual inquiry can be combined with any number of other UX methods.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for more info.

Wandering Librarian: Weston Public Library

Continuing to wander in inland Connecticut, I visited the town of Weston, CT. Housed in the original building from 1963, this small town library manages to meet basic patron needs in regards to programs and events, collection, research and technology.

Though tiny, they do have a YA space as well as a separate children’s room and a program room. The limited space is devoted to the collection. I found the paper signs marking the shelves to be chintzy.

Technology wise they provide patrons with public computers, printing, scanners, streaming media players available for checkout, free 3D printing and an anachronism in the library world; a microfilm machine. Their website also gives basic information for patrons. Their Bibliomation catalog is part of a CT consortium linking public and school libraries around CT.

Other note worthy items:

  • Inviting patron participation in the library, they have a suggestion box.
  • They also have an Amazon wish list in which they share the link and invite patrons to contribute items to their library.
  • I was also confused by the large Starbucks logo on the entrance door but did not see a cafe in the building.


METRO UX Meetup Recap: Hands-On UX of METRO’s New Headquarters

Earlier this week, we had our first UX in Libraries Meetup at METRO’s new headquarters located at 599 11th Avenue near the Intrepid.


We did a semi-structured hands-on UX study of the new space using various methods. Some METRO staff members were on hand and available for guided tours, interviews, etc.


The group came up with some great ideas, suggestions, and recommendations based on initial findings. It was a pretty productive and awesome meeting, thanks to METRO and the participants.

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Some recurring themes that surfaced are:

  • Welcoming
  • Human touch
  • Togetherness

METRO is doing exactly what we work with libraries and nonprofits on – implementing creative solutions to effectively improve and enhance individual and organizational performance by focusing on the human element. Kudos to METRO for having a welcoming space that promotes togetherness with a human touch.

So what’s next? Ideas include possibly doing another hands-on UX meeting down the road when other spaces are set up and adding subtle elements of serendipity that complement the origami cranes and the post-it note bird. Stay tuned.

And lastly, thanks again METRO for the opportunity. We look forward to using the new spaces in its various iterations for future UX meetups. Be sure to check out METRO’s new headquarters, if you haven’t already.

Wandering Librarian: Wilton Library Association

Wandering inland I found myself in Wilton, CT and decided to visit the Wilton Library Association (AKA the public library). Housed in a modern 1 floor building, the public floor wraps around 2 courtyards. There was a noticeable lack of directional signage although the simple floor plan made it easy to navigate the library.

Upon first entering the building, I was immediately drawn to the children’s room. How could I miss it with its artistic doorway beckoning me in? It was one of the more impressive children’s rooms I’ve seen in my wanderings; lovely local art throughout, a fish tank & low kid friendly shelving.

Past the children’s room is the innovation station. For a small library they are well equipped with MakerBot 3-D printer, an iMac with Final Cut Pro, a PC with Adobe Creative Cloud, a digital scanner, a VHS to DVD converter, a Cricut Die Cutter, soldering stations, 3D Doodlers, and an electronic sewing machine.

A couple of other things I noticed during my visit:

  • 1 Polaris self checkout machine
    • media case self unlocking device
  • Translation of call numbers posted on book shelves
  • No cafe that I saw
  • Great puzzle collection available for checkout
  • Electric vehicle charging station in parking lot
  • Nice book displays throughout

My overall impression of the library is that it is very tidy and neat and covers patrons’ basic needs and managing to stay up-to-date on the technology library trends.


Monthly Method Spotlight: Cultural Probes

Cultural Probes

When/why: To compare perceptions and behaviors within or across cultures.

How: Assemble a journal kit or even better a camera journal kit and distribute to participants within 1 or across many cultures.

Tips: See cross-cultural comparison and camera journal research methods.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for more info.

Hands-On UX at May 9th METRO UX SIG Meeting

METRO has moved to a new space. We’re taking the opportunity to do a hands-on UX study of METRO’s new space as part of the UX SIG meeting. Join us on May 9th from 10am-12pm. More info and RSVP.

Happy National Library Week!

National Library Week, image of Wooly, beaded sheep with button promoting Where the Wild Things Are

Happy National Library Week from Wooly, a beloved wild library lover. The library – Where the Wild Things Are.

Library 2.017 – Librarians in the 21st Century: Designing a Career Strategy for Evolving Roles and Opportunities

Library 2.017 – Librarians in the 21st Century: Designing a Career Strategy for Evolving Roles and Opportunities 

Slides on Slideshare – 


Publish & Present:
Chandos Publishing
Information Today
Libraries Unlimited

Keep Updated:
ALA Mailing Lists
Library Link of the Day
Library Trends
NMC Horizon Reports

Alternative LIS Job Titles
Free Online Courses
IFLA New Librarians Webinars
Library & Information Science Transferable Competencies 
Emerging Career Trends for Information Professionals

Thanks to Library 2.017 and everyone for attending. We got some great questions during the presentation, so we’re sharing them here.

Q: Can you share a list of the usability groups that you connected with?
A: In 2014, we founded the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) User Experience (UX) Special Interest Group (SIG) to provide a collaborative environment for librarians, libraries, etc. who are working toward creating a user-friendly environment. More information about the SIG as well as resources including usability groups. Our next meeting is on Tuesday, May 9th.

Q: I’m interested in the idea of freelancing – is there another session about how to get started there…
A: This is probably the first time we’ve been asked this question. We talk about how we got started in consulting in a recently published book, Career Transitions for Librarians, edited by colleagues Ray Pun and Davis Erin Anderson. Read more about our story and the book here. Feel free to contact us with more specific questions.

Q: Can you expand on what is in your e-portfolio?
A: Our e-portfolios are an expansion of our resumes/CVs and are more interactive and visual. Our e-portfolios are linked from our About page. We do presentations focused specifically on e-portfolios, so let us know if that would be something of interest to you or your group. Feel free to contact us with more specific questions.

March 29th Designing a Library Career Strategy at Library 2.017

Wandering Librarian: Danbury Public Library

Wandering into inland CT, I stopped at Danbury’s public library. While my visit was short, I did notice a couple of things while wandering around:

  • book display with staff members’ favorite picks – inclusion of staff members name added a nice personal touch
  • too much paper taped on walls, doors, etc throughout the library
  • poster guide of Dewey Decimal System in stacks to assist patrons in their search
  • bagged children’s books around a theme available for loan
  • reference desk is easily found by big “Ask Me” sign above it – more inviting than the classic “Reference” signs
  • children’s and young adult section on the 2nd floor not separated by a physical barrier – allows for easy movement throughout space by all the kids without creating them feeling like they are trespassing in the wrong section  – also noted is the charging stand in the teen section (they really know their teen patrons well)

Mainly during my visit I took note of the library’s technological offerings to its community.

  • Preloaded Amazon Kindle Fire tablets
  • Roku streaming media player available for 7 day loan
  • Early literacy iPad Kits available for 7 day loan
  • iPads in Spanish available
  • Digital Design Center with IMAC loaded with design programs
  • Digital petting zoo
  • Faxing & scanning services

One final feature of the library that I stumbled on while browsing their website is the Danbury Hackerspace @ The Innovation Center. Unfortunately, because it was not well marked I was unable to visit in person. The attached Hackerspace also offers coworking  space for $50/month.

All in all, this little library packs in quite a bit for its community.

Wandering Librarian: Fairfield Public Library

Continuing my wandering around Fairfield County,CT, I stopped at Fairfield Public Library. My first impression was that it is a well used library judging by the number of people inside at 10am on a Monday. My second impression was that my wandering would be guided by well placed and informative signage.

Several things I noticed as I wandered around:

  • Preloaded learning tablets available to check out
  • No self-check out system
  • Charging stations
  • Art gallery displaying local artist
  • Low vision services area
  • Inviting and well stocked periodical room
  • Video game lending
  • Interesting book sections:
    • celebrity memoir, celebrity chef, 7 day loan, 14 day loan

In general I found the library to be comfortable and neat; no flyers taped to walls, not stacks of papers/books strewn throughout, no abandoned book carts.

In regards to programs and events, the library offers the requisite storytimes, tech/computer programs, job/career programs, craft programs, cultural programs teen programs and book clubs. I did notice some very timely program based on today’s hot topics such as the upcoming Oscars, media literacy, tax prep assistance, and popular health topics.

Overall a wonderful library bringing together its community and nothing demonstrates that more than their One Book One Town celebration that connects Fairfielders by uniting them for the month of March with 2 books and events & activities around these titles.


Monthly Method Spotlight: 80/20 Rule

80/20 Rulee5ece569c365396ed9dae4c23a972adc

What: The  80/20 Rule or Pareto principle is named after economist Vilfredo Pareto and specifies an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs. The principle states that 20% of the invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained.

When/why: The 80/20 rule can used in helping you make decisions in your user experience work. Wherever there is data that can be quantified there’s the possibility that you can use this rule to focus your efforts on the areas of your work that bring the most results.

How: For example, 80/20 can be applied to website usability. Analyze data to determine your website’s 20% most-used functions and concentrate on enhancing these functions. Don’t spend too much time optimizing stuff that falls in the 80% that’s not often used

Tips: When using the 80/20 rule in UX research to be mindful of sample or data size. You need to ensure that your research or analysis covers a sufficient sample size to be statistically relevant. 80/20 is a quick & dirty method and is by no means exacting in its results.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for information.

Monthly Method Spotlight: We Want To Know

feedbackA few years ago, we started a new series Monthly Method Spotlight where each month we focused on one people-centered method that you may find helpful for your work. We use these methods for various projects to develop, implement, and/or evaluate.

As per our usual What, When/Why and How in our Monthly Method Spotlight series, we want to know –

  • What methods have you used in your work?
  • When/why did you use those methods?
  • How did you use those methods?
  • How did it go? Would you use those methods again?


Your Career Strategy: 2017 Career Goals

Happy 2017! It’s a new year and it’s a good time to revisit your career strategy.


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


  • Do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis.
  • Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals.

Career strategy:

  • Keep in mind that people, professional brand, and online presence are three important aspects of your career strategy.

What are your 2017 career goals?

Wandering Librarian: Library Hotel

A long standing wish of mine has finally been fulfilled just before Christmas; a visit to the Library Hotel in NYC. A cozy and quaint boutique hotel for the literary minded, here are some of the cute library and literary themes seen throughout my stay at the hotel:

  • Dewey Decimal themed rooms and floors – I was in 900’s floor, Geography & History
  • A 24 hour reading room containing shelves packed with books
  • A rooftop lounge offering literary inspired cocktails

Beyond my obvious pleasure with all things book related, the hotel deserves high ratings for its customer service and amenities becoming more and more infrequent in the hotel industry. Mainly, free WiFi, complimentary breakfast, complimentary beverage & snack service available 24 hours, and of course a librarian’s favorite: complimentary wine & cheese reception.

img_20161203_160833 img_20161203_160201 img_20161203_160122 img_20161203_160045


Panera Bread 2.0 vs Panera Bread 1.0

img_20161119_081225This fall, I have been a frequent customer at my local Panera Bread before school drop off. The customer service has been wonderful and I look forward to my biweekly interaction with the cashiers.

Recently, I encountered a Panera 2.0 kiosk system at a D.C. location. While I still completed my order the old fashioned 1.0 way, I was intrigued by this system. Admittedly, I can see myself using this system in the future. Mainly to leisurely browse the menu without the harried customer behind me breathing down my neck to order. I can also see myself using Panera’s online Rapid Pick-up sometime in the future. Judging from Panera’s 6% sales increase since launching 2.0 it has been hugely successful.

While not a proponent of mixing technology with food, so far this model seems to work. Partly due to the fact that Panera has not completely eliminated its employees and in fact claims that this new system allows for employees to circulate around the cafe more.


From UX Study to UX Service: Using People-Centered Research Methods to Improve the Public Library Experience

We enjoyed talking about UX and libraries at the December 8th Driving Library Change with User Experience Design online conference. Here is our slidedeck and resources:

“From UX Study to UX Service: Using People-Centered Research Methods to Improve the Public Library Experience”

People-Centered Research and Analysis Methods (Monthly Method Spotlight)
Our monthly method spotlight features one people-centered method each month that you may find helpful for your work.

Informal Risk Assessment 
Risk = Likelihood * Impact
(For example, Likelihood of issue happening * Impact of issue on the project)

Books on Design Thinking, User Experience, and Project Management

  1. This is Service Design Thinking by Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider
  2. The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO’s Strategies for Defeating the Devil’s Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization by Tom Kelley and Jonathan Littman
  3. The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman
  4. A Project Manager’s Book of Forms by Cynthia Stackpole Snyder
  5. Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager by Kogon, Blakemore & Wood
  6. DK Essential Managers: Project Management by Peter Hobbs

Monthly Method Spotlight: Long-Range Forecast

socialfeed-info-the-old-farmers-almanac-uses-a-secret-formula-to-predict-longrange-weatherLong-Range Forecast


When/why: Think about the future and its implications in order to anticipate behavior changes of users. Predicting these changes can help guide design decisions

How:  Write up a description of how social and/or technological trends might influence people in the future.

Tips: This can be combined with other methods. For example, long-range forecast, with a user’s current behavioral archaeology to demonstrate how a new technology may alter the user’s placement, wear patterns, and organization of places & things.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for information.

Wandering Librarian: Mohonk Mountain House

On a beautiful fall day, this wandering librarian took a staycation to the Mohonk Mountain House in the Catskill Mountains of New York. img_20161114_143400Founded by Albert Smiley in 1869, Mohonk Mountain House is a National Historic Landmark found on a pristine mountain lake surrounded by thousands of acres of unspoiled natural beauty.

Besides the impressive castle, gorgeous natural beauty and great food, I was most happy with the cozy library. With its small nonfiction and fiction collections, plush chairs, fireplace, tea & cookies, this is probably the most comfortable reading room and small library I’ve ever had the luck to enjoy. img_20161114_154005img_20161114_153947

December 8th Online Conference – Driving Library Change with User Experience Design

Join us on December 8th at 3PM EST for “From UX Study to UX Service: Using People-Centered Research Methods to Improve the Public Library Experience” at the Driving Library Change with User Experience Design online conference.

Learn about how a user experience (UX) study on a self-service model led to the development of Book a Librarian, a personalized reference service model in the 5th largest public library in the United States. We will share the various methods used (word association, fly on the wall observations, etc) to evaluate the self-service model, analyze user interactions in the library, and identify gaps in library services. We will also share how we used user-centered research and design to plan and implement Book a Librarian service from start to finish. We will share how and where the UX approach fits into project management and also the various UX design methods used.

Halloween Treats, Tips, and Tricks

Bathroom Blogfest 2016 Wrap Up

Toilet Paper CartoonFrom a Jurassic Park theme bathroom to a classic bathroom question of how/where do I flush, we hope you enjoyed reading Bathroom Blogfest 2016 as much as we enjoyed writing it.

View all Bathroom Blogfest posts.

Bathroom Blogfest 2016: Umm, How/Where Do I Flush?

You’ve finished your business and now you’re ready to flush. The questions are how and where. flush

It looks like the PUSH button is for a possible door, but it turns out that’s where you push to flush. It’s labelled (sorta) but still rather confusing. I guess one can argue that if it said push to flush, it would be more clear. However, many times, when the design of something is flawed, having signage just simply masks or somewhat alleviates the real (design) issue at hand.

Bathroom Blogfest 2016: Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park anyone? Pretty cool bathroom. Only thing missing: music.

img_20160831_131840461  jp-2

Bathroom Blogfest 2016

It wasn’t until this week, when I entered a bathroom that threw me off, did I realize/remember that this week is Bathroom Blogfest. Stay tuned to hear about this bathroom story.

What is Bathroom Blogfest?

bathroom toiletThrough the rest of this week, we’ll talk about the user experience of bathrooms. That’s right, bathrooms. This is our 6th year participating in Bathroom Blogfest. Please share your bathroom stories.

“During the annual Bathroom Blogfest, bloggers from around the globe write about the importance of bathrooms in the customer experience. Their posts come from a wide range of perspectives that include sociology, marketing, research, psychology, environmental, customer experience, and user-experience design.”

Wandering Librarian: Rowayton Library

rowaytonAfter driving by this tudoresque building countless times, I finally pulled in to check it out. It turns out that the building is the library of the quaint coastal village of Rowayton.

My first impression was one of incredible tidiness and neatness; no book or object out of place. So tidy in fact that there was a distinct lack of signage; no signage demarcating an adult section from a YA section from a children’ section. The dearth of signage extended to the collection. I had to hunt through the children collection to find the board books, the same goes with finding fiction and nonfiction collections. Despite the signage issue, I did find the interior to be inviting and cozy.

img_20160922_131801Like the signage, there also seemed to be a dearth of programming; though in this case this a compliment. While there was no teen programming, I found the offered programs to be few in number but high in content quality. Rowayton Library does not try to be everything for everyone, nor do they attempt to offer trendy topics that their patrons may not be interested in (i.e. technology trends).

The Rowayton Library offers good basic service and isn’t stretching its resources in an attempt to impress. They haven’t lost sight of a library’s place in the community; they offer reference service, access to basic technology, a comfortable community space and books.

Monthly Method Spotlight: Blind Writing

Blind Writing



  • When you’ve hit a road block.
  • When no ideas come to mind.

How: Write for 10 minutes. The only rule is that you have to keep writing even if it seems like you are writing nonsense.

Tips: Keep it open; meaning don’t try to categorize or steer your writing in any way. Sometimes the solution to a problem starts with the most far-fetched idea.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for information.

September 27th SCRLC Webinar – Librarians in the 21st Century: Designing a Career Strategy for Evolving Roles and Opportunities

View slides on SlideShare

View webinar recording on YouTube

Online Resources

Publish & Present:
Chandos publishing –
Information Today –
Libraries Unlimited – 

Keep Updated:
ALA Mailing Lists –
Library Link of the Day –
Library Trends –
Slashdot –
Reddit Libraries –
NMC Horizon Reports –

LISCareer –
Alternative LIS Job Titles –
Free Courses –
IFLA New Librarians Webinars –
Library & Information Science Transferable Competencies –
Emerging Career Trends for Information Professional - 

View slides on SlideShare

View webinar recording on YouTube

Romper Room for Mini Guests

Traveling with a mini-me has proven to be tricky especially in hotels. We’ve stayed at a boutique hotels, at chain hotels, at inns, cottages, you name it. Yet none of these places are exactly child-proof or child-friendly, even the ones advertising themselves as a family place.

hotelWe finally stayed at a hotel in downtown Toronto that had amenities for mini guests & their harried parents. This Kids Zone Room allowed us to rest while our little one played & romped off his excess energy before boarding our flight home.

A simple amenity but one that has a big and lasting impact for user/customer experience. In the future, I will be calling ahead to see if a hotel has a romper room for mini guests.

Monthly Method Spotlight: Brain Writing

Brain Writing



  • When there are many individual problems that require solutions.
  • When a group needs a lot of ideas in a short period of time.
  • When there are several shy people in the group.
  • When ideas need to flow freely.

How: Have a group of people write their idea or question on their own sheet of paper.  Rotate the sheets to different people and build off what the others wrote on their paper. Continue until everyone has written on everyone else’s sheet.

Tips: Keep the group small (6-8 people). At the end of the session collect the ideas and organize using other Monthly Method ideas like: dot-voting, card sorting, task and error analysis, etc.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for information.

Upcoming SCRLC Webinar – Librarians in the 21st Century: Designing a Career Strategy for Evolving Roles and Opportunities


Join us and the South Central Regional Library Council (SCRLC) on Tuesday, September 27 at 10-11am EST for a webinar – Librarians in the 21st Century: Designing a Career Strategy for Evolving Roles and Opportunities.

As the information world transitions into the 21st century, so too must information professionals. For anyone making a transition, whether you are a recent library school graduate, job hunting, changing jobs or advancing your career, this session will cover the evolving roles and opportunities in the information profession, what this means for librarians, and how to design a career strategy to keep your skills current with the shifting profession.

For more info and to register.

IFLA Conference Registration: A Bad and Frustrating User Experience

I was pretty excited about attending and presenting at my first IFLA conference until it was time to register for the conference. I’ve registered for many conferences in the past few years and I have to say I had such a bad and frustrating user experience that I feel the need to share for two reasons: venting (I’m human, after all) and improving usability and user experience (I’m hoping that this bad user experience leads to IFLA and other organizations/groups to improve the usability of their conference registration/payment processes).

After creating an online profile, the online registration system asked me to choose a currency: USD or EUR. I selected USD currency.



It then prompted me to pick a logo for the credit card, in which the AMEX logo is one of the choices. I selected AMEX and proceeded to the next screen to input payment info.



After submitting the payment info, I got an error message. I tried re-submitting the payment info several times and it still didn’t work. I then contacted IFLA conference registration about the error message in which I attached a screenshot of the error message with my email; I was immediately told that if I’m having problems with online registration, I should use the paper form.

It wasn’t until insisting on finding out what the online registration issue is, I was then told they can’t take AMEX with USD currency. The online registration system should have been designed to not show AMEX as an option if the USD currency is selected and should have a note that says they can’t take AMEX with USD currency.

I was told afterwards that there is a note that says they can’t take AMEX with USD currency. However, the note isn’t very prominent. I missed it. It could be easily missed by others as well.


At that point (it was a week before the conference) and without any travel and lodging arrangements (I was waiting for conference registration to be completed first), I decided it was best to forgo this year’s IFLA conference. I was really looking forward to attending and presenting at my first IFLA conference.

Monthly Method Spotlight: SWOT Analysis

swotSWOT Analysis

When/why: To get a better idea and understanding of your project or yourself as a professional, specifically four elements: your 1) strengths and 2) weaknesses (internal) and 3) opportunities and 4) threats (external). It helps you focus on your strengths, work on your weaknesses or find complementary team members, minimize threats, and take advantage of opportunities.We talk about SWOT analysis as part of one’s career strategy in our leadership and career development presentations and workshops.

How: Use the SWOT matrix and start listing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your project.

Tips: Use giant flipchart post-it notes when you’re doing the SWOT analysis of your project as a group.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for information.

Library Career Transitions, Consulting, and Coming Full Circle

IMG_1231I (my partner in crime couldn’t make it) enjoyed speaking about our consulting work at the last month’s panel discussion on Career Transitions for Librarians: Proven Strategies for Transitioning to Another Type of Library, organized by SLA-NY and hosted by Baruch College. There were lots of interesting discussions and conversations about library career transitions, career strategies, and trends. It was great to meet new faces and reconnect with old ones.

The whoa! moment that evening was when I first stepped into the room where the panel was going to take place. It hit me that this was the same exact room that Sandra and I were in for a SLA-NY Future Ready event back in 2011 where we decided to get creative with our name tags and put aspiring consultant. Five years later, I was in the very same room, talking about how we got into consulting. Talk about coming full circle.

Wandering Librarian: NYPL 53rd Street Library

Wandering around NYC, I ended up on the block of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and across the street is the recently opened NYPL 53rd Street Library. I had remembered visiting the former library in this location and was curious to see what the new one looks like. Upon entering, I was greeted by friendly staff. Enlarged posters of book cover jackets line the top of the bookshelves. “Staff picks” cards were displayed on bookshelves throughout the library, reminding me of local bookstores. One service desk was simply a desk with a nook for supplies where staff would carry a laptop to the desk during their shift. Outlets almost everywhere you looked from tabletops to seating areas. A seating area next to the stairs that doubled as an auditorium/theater. Saw a colleague who is now working at this location, it was great to reconnect. Bright and open space, fairly quiet and comfortable. NYPL 53rd Street Library was a quick but enjoyable and welcoming visit.

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