Z-UX User Experience
Schmidt, A. (2016, May 4). Asking the right questions | the user experience. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2016/05/opinion/aaron-schmidt/asking-the-right-questions-the-user-experience/#_
Asking the right questions
Summary: The author calls into question the age-old tactic of “give the consumer what they want” when planning library services. The author points out that the responsibility then falls on the shoulders of those we aim to serve rather than the knowledgeable professionals trained to make such decisions. He does advocate putting patrons’ needs first, however he suggests a different angle for gathering necessary information that will help LIS professionals create and design services around the needs of patrons. Rather than asking a broad question of “what do you want in a library?” the author suggests asking, “how do you like to spend your time?” and “what interests do you have that you wish you had more information available to you?”
Review: I really like how the author reframes the idea of serving our patrons and creating a user-focused design. After years of customer service, where “the customer is always right,” I understand the conundrum that the author presents. All too often the customer is not exactly right. Too often the customer is not prepared to make decisions on the strategic plan of a business, and to follow the customer demands might in fact lead to failure. But when you evaluate what the consumer (a broad swath of customers) are responsive to in the product or service you offer, you will have a fairly accurate direction to follow for success. In library service, especially school library service where one’s budget is limited, it makes sense to ask questions that lead to understand trends that can serve the community better, rather than responding the few individuals who ask directly for a service or resource. Asking a community how they spend their time, or how they would like to spend their time, might be a more feasible way of serving the community as a whole.