At any one time only 5% of the physical collection that State Library Victoria has to offer is on the open shelves; the rest is in storage. Our challenge was to increase the visibility of their digital collections and enable library users (whether onsite or offsite) to explore, discover and use them.
OzCHI Conference - 2018
Research / User Interface / User Experience
Team: Perrin Jones, Jodie Clothier, Elektra Jiang
OzCHI 24 Hour Design Challenge
OzCHI24, is an annual international student design competition run as part of the OzCHI conference. At the beginning of the hackathon, participants will receive a design brief which they have 24 hours to solve. Due to time constraints, primary data or user research gathered from external participants is not allowed. At the end of the 24 hours, teams submit a 2–3 minute video showcasing their design, and a draft paper explaining their design process and concept. In the end, we were named as winners and were flown out to Melbourne to present our research at the OzCHI 2018 conference, the largest gathering of HCI researchers in the southern hemisphere.
With the purpose of bringing serendipity to users’ journeys while they are immersing in library, we start our research on design precedents and library experience related journals. Among those design precedents, we examine interesting findings about what the user’s pathway is while they are doing the “search” within the library’s collection and how aesthetic visualisation could allure the users to discover and explore more of the collection.
Among the design precedents, the Blended shelf(Kleiner, E. et al, 2013) and Bohemian bookshelf(Thudt, A. et al, 2012) build their design based on the core user need - serendipity - in various visual-oriented ways. Serendipity, characterised in the The Three Princes of Serendipity is the “highnesses travelled they were always making discoveries, by accidents & sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of”(Remer,T.G., 1965). It captures the very coincident and inspiring moment that hits on the user. To address the design problem that How might digital design in library create the special sense of serendipity, they come up with the following solutions.
The user pathway problematic point: As it is identified in Klein’s digital library creation Blended Shelf, The problematic point of the user journey involving in the library - both onsite and online - happens from the moment when the user starts to do the “search” but not sure what they really want to search. The function of keyword search shows its unique essence to the user at this stage.
Adjacency: The Bohemian bookshelf(Thudt, A. et al, 2012) use several ways - book color, timeline, pile, author - to categorise the items to create adjacency to the users.
Visualisation and the aesthetic trigger: Both of the design precedents present visual-oriented design including abstract data visualisation, well-organised information cluster and 3D design.
Community: As stated in Chowdhury’s research, Community bond needs to be built for modern library experience(Chowdhury, G., 2006). This could also be a digital community where “content, services and facilities that can only be delivered on the web”(Alden, C., 2006).
Problem Space Exploration
Using the readings, we tried to summarise the main takeaways for areas of improvement in the digital sphere for libraries. Our brainstorming here was focused on finding precise language to describe what needed to get accomplished in the this problem space. At the end, we circled our top focus for our solution brainstorming.
Based on the prompt and our readings, we decided to sit down and clearly define our scope for the project. We consulting the slack with a few scope questions as well to clarify what space our solution should exist in. Our scope was:
Feasible in 5-10 years
Needs a Physical Touch Point
All Mediums Need to Fit Into the Platform
24 hours to develop, prototype, and document a solution
We attempted to do further research through secondary sources on the users, and found that 44% of Australians are current members of a library. Our goal was to better understand the demographic and their possible pain points. We decided to create personas to better connect and identify with our possible range of users.
After getting a little stuck on user personas, we created a journey map for generic library users using ourselves as students as an example. For this map, we focus on the journey of going to the library searching for information. We noticed the all the pain points lacked interpersonal contact points, so further elaborated on some possible areas and ways to interact with library users. These included:
Hot spots showing when others were looking at and reading materials
Clear overall visualisation of trending topics in your area and the world
Simulating pencil and pen notes left in borrowed books
After the journey map we felt pretty comfortable with our scope, user group, their pain points, and a variety of opportunities for improvements and innovations. We kept getting stuck on real world technology and implementable solutions that our brainstorming was not pushing the envelope in any innovative ways. Thus, everyone was given 10 minutes to fill their board up with the wildest and extreme ideas they could think of.
After discussing our ideas, we had fallen in love with a book sharing platform that keeps track of your digital footprint for physical books and ebooks through comments and highlighting.
Using the development matrix we further defined our product, purpose, customer market, and technology. Laying these out on the board helped us understand the gap in the book sharing platform: it could not apply to the digital sphere and physical touch point together.
Reconnection to Prompt
After spending a great amount of time trying to meld the idea into the challenge prompt, we decided to reread the entire prompt and take notes on needs that stood out to us. Our attempts to apply these needs to our book sharing idea led us back to the initial drawing board.
Wild Brainstorming (Again)
We finally had a breakthrough idea. While looking through the current technology, book shelves came up. We added a screen to the long aspect of the shelf and started playing around with how a user could interact with digital information in a physical space. We were comfortable with the product idea and purpose, since it was a simple innovation with a huge redefinition of human computer interaction at libraries.
Using storyboards we were able to see how personas would use this service. We came up with the companion app at this stage to allow the user to easily take away a piece of the library.
We started creating different wireframes on the board to get a feel of how we would implement the interactions in the storyboard in a clear way.
Using the lo-fi prototype on our whiteboard, we acted out different types of user scenarios and eliminated some pain points in our design.
After several rounds of refinement at the lo-fi stage, we move on to develop the hi-fi prototypes. We aimed to create a distinct visual aesthetic across our work and have the user experience be intuitive and easy.
Design Specifications & Objectives
The connection between digital and physical enhances the physical
More traffic for digital spaces is encouraged through the UX design
Intuitive UI design so people from any background can navigate
Physical height of the design is accessible by all
Exploration is preserved in the digital realm