Rather than fading in the age of the internet and digital media, libraries are taking on an even stronger role in community life.
As technology and automation are bringing about heightened risks of unemployment, there is a greater need for the library to help its community navigate social change. Technology is often a disruptive transition as markets seek labor reduction and cost savings through automation. Recent studies show that the failure to manage technology transitions or boosting innovation will actually “slow income growth, increase unemployment risk, and lead to fewer improvements in leisure, health, and longevity.”
How can the library, as a community “third place”, smooth the disruption of technology and automation on its community? How can the library help improve patrons’ skills and help them find employment? How can it be a resource to prepare young people for a new labor market?
The role of providing free access to information and services for everyone is central to the mission and culture of the library. In an effort to expand the economic and social opportunities provided by digital technology to all its members, the local library desires to build a digitally inclusive community.
After the 4 interviews with librarians from all over the world the team and I decided to summarize each interview and then summarize the summaries. What we came up with was:
“The library needs to engage with the public more so that they know what programs/events/lectures they offer. The main focus of the programs that the library should offer is in the technology field ranging from entry level to business level, help with reading/writing/general conversation and job prep (resume writing, portfolio creation, interview skills and job hunting). Everyone learns differently and can range from reading, to listening, to seeing and even doing. That is why all forms must be available to the public if this app is going to work. Make ebooks, lectures, audio-books, step-by-step instruction and videos available through the app. All lectures/events should be available to be seen either in person or electronically through the app.”
The user interviews were a little different than what Flatiron is used to because everything was done electronically over zoom because of Covid-19. The qualitative data we gathered from the interviews had two distinct feels to them which lead us to working with 2 different personas (1 primary and 1 secondary).
After taking in all the demographic information from our interviews and surveys, we did an affinity diagram to define what each user persona should exude. Once we figured that out, we were able to build two user personas of the ideal users that would be working with our app. This will allow us to concentrate on building the app for these specific users but will encompass the overwhelming majority of the users.
Taking into account the qualitative data we received from our interviews, surveys and research, we were able to affinity diagram (link to diagram) and arrive at multiple problem statements that we combined into one statement.
The Design Principles were taken from the qualitative and quantitative data from the interviews. These principles are what we used in the design process of the app.
This design artifact helped to keep me on track of what to deliver and what is expected from our users. It helps tell their story and helps to sell the story of why we did certain things in the app. We could show the stakeholder the raw data to back up the decision but having something that is more visual than just data is easier for most to digest.
Each member of the team built out a different section of the app and tested on potential users to get feedback on what areas worked and what areas did not. This led the team to have a discussion on what each area should look like and how it should function. It was then decided which wire-framing kit to use and to start developing each section that we were assigned to do.
This is where the app started to come together. After everyone finished their layouts I went through and made sure that they followed the Wire-framing kit. Changed fonts, adjusted images and fixed simple layout mistakes.
Once I ran through all the wire-frames and fixed the errors, I then linked everything up and tested the prototype to make sure all worked on areas were accessible.
The test was conducted in a closed office without a moderator in the room. The participant was read to what they would be doing and was shown the home-screen and
was asked what they thought of it. The moderator read the tasks to the participant and gave them a copy for their use. The moderator ensured the participant that they were not being tested but the app was and to not worry if they could not get through a task. The moderator setup the recording of the screen and of the participant and asked the
participant to start going through the tasks and think out loud what was going through
their mind while trying to complete the tasks.
The tasks asked of the participant were:
What were some of the problem areas:
There were also responses about what did work: