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I'm currently working on a DPhil in HCT at the University of Sussex. This section of the website is for an on-going 'learning diary', for me to write my thoughts and notes on various courses and my thesis.


First pass at library tasks

I emailed Lizzie and Charlie with a first pass at breaking down the library tasks. The high level tasks I identified are:

  • Borrowing items
  • Researching a topic
  • Accessing periodicals
  • Advice centre (although I'm not too sure about this)
  • Learning centre

I didn't have anything to put under Advice centre or Learning centre, but there you go!

Lizzie has followed up on the learning centre bit by calling the library! Pretty good - she got no help at all. And she couldn't find anything on the website either. So loads of scope for improvement there. Bonus.



A potentially very useful book has come my way through work. "The Elements of User Experience - User-Centered Design for the Web" by Jesse James Garrett. (Aiga, New York, 2002)

The author has his own website too: http://www.jjg.net

Could be a great guideline for the design process. Also gives some ideas on what information to try to get out of users.


Kick off

We met last night to kick off our work on the HCI assignment.

The group is: Me, Lizzie Brown and Charlie Maybury

We're looking at the library website: http://www.citylibraries.info

We met up at Pinocchio's, with the plan being to get some food and work at the same time. I'm not totally sure that plan worked! But the food was nice and we did get some work started.

We've given some thought to the initial demographics we'd like to look into. Whilst we thought there definitely should be some kind of effort for children (pre-school/infant school age) we were also pretty sure they wouldn't be using it on their own. Any effort in this area would have to include thought on the parents' needs too. This duality and the difficulty in getting access to users in this demographic suggested that this might not be a practical area to focus on.

We feel that teens could be a good focus group. Whilst not many may use the library regularly, there is a lot of scope for online research aimed at this group, with a variety of school projects to research and perhaps limited facilities in school. They are generally very conversant with technology, but may get frustrated with the site quickly and give up.

And to contrast that, retired people. Obviously less emphasis on school work! But perhaps a good market for checking things when they are already in the library (as library catalogues move away from the traditional cards). This is a demographic that traditionally is thought of as less computer literate, so there may be issues to overcome to get them to use the site. Probably more prone to blame themselves for not understanding the technology than the technology for not being well designed. Also may be accessibility issues - needing larger print for example.

I think we also need to look at just a couple of library functions as well, and limit the scope of our project that way. To that end, I'm trying to think through high level use cases or tasks, then break them down into their components.

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