Home | News & Events | Events | 2015 Events | NISO Virtual Conferences | October 28: Interacting with Content: Improving the User Experience

NISO Virtual Conference: Interacting with Content: Improving the User Experience

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
11:00 - 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)

Sponsored by:

Today's virtual conference is generously sponsored by IET, The Institution of Engineering and Technology Publishing. 

System Requirements:

  • NISO has developed a quick tutorial, How to Participate in a NISO Web Event. Please view the recording, which is an overview of the web conferencing system and will help to answer the most commonly asked questions regarding participating in an online Webex event.
  • You will need a computer for the presentation and Q&A.
  • Audio is available through the computer (broadcast) and by telephone. We recommend you have a set-up for telephone audio as back-up even if you plan to use the broadcast audio as the voice over Internet isn't always 100% reliable.
  • Please check your system in advance to make sure it meets the Cisco WebEx requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that your system is properly set up before each webinar begins. 

About the Virtual Conference

The demands for awareness of and responsiveness to the academic user experience (UX) are increasingly important for all players in the scholarly communications industry. What began as a software development methodology has proven to be a critical function in our ability to deliver high-quality scholarly resources to a global readership. In this virtual conference, we will feature a range of perspectives on how publishers, libraries and technology suppliers achieve an understanding of reader needs and perspectives, in order to drive iterative improvements in the way users interact with the content we host, publish, and license.


11:00 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. – Introduction
Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO

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11:10 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Keynote Address: Great Content, Great Experience
Courtney McDonald, Head, Discovery and Research Services, Associate Librarian, Indiana University Bloomington Libraries

Librarians have long served as evaluators of publications, as collectors of knowledge, and as managers and preservers of collections. Over time our role has evolved to also encompass creation and authorship in our own right – of scholarship and publications, in both traditional and new fora; and of content describing our libraries’ services, resources and collections. While measures of quality, credibility, impact and intention have been developed for published works, how do we measure the effectiveness, usability and clarity of the content we ourselves create about our own collections and services? How can we be sure that we are creating a great experience for our users through first creating great content?

Courtney Greene McDonald is Head of the Discovery & Research Services department at the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries. Her professional interests are focused on the intersection of emerging technologies and library public services, and on implementing user-centered design methods and philosophies in libraries. She has presented and written on a variety of topics, most recently on user experience and discovery. Her second book, Putting the User First: 30 Strategies for Transforming Library Services (ACRL), was published in 2014. Courtney chairs the editorial board for the peer-reviewed, open-access journal Weave UX: Journal of Library User Experience.

Previous to coming to the IU Bloomington Libraries, Courtney held positions as Assistant Coordinator of Instruction & Online Learning at DePaul University and as Assistant Reference Librarian and Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She earned her Master of Library Science degree, as well as a BA in English and Journalism, from Indiana University-Bloomington, and holds a Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction from DePaul University in Chicago. Find her on Twitter: @xocg Courtney maintains a WorldCat list of books on user experience and her office bookshelf is pictured here (download image for full view)


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 2:00 p.m. - 12:30 p.m. Service Design: Towards a Holistic Assessment of the Library Experience
Joe Marquez, MLIS, Web Services Librarian, Reed Libraries, Reed College
Annie Downey, MLIS, PhD, Reed Libraries, Director of Research Services, Reed College

Librarians are not new to designing or assessing services, but we tend to develop each service in isolation from the other services we offer, with little to no user input prior to implementation. Service design is a holistic, co-creative, and user-centered approach to understanding user behavior for creating or refining services. In service design, we look at the entire ecology and the holistic experience of using the Library and its services from the user’s perspective. This session explores the service design methodology as a relevant method for service assessment and creation in a library environment and discusses the various tools libraries and librarians can use to implement a service design approach to assessment. It also illustrates the service design approach with a case study from the Reed College Library.

Joe J. Marquez is the Web Services Librarian at Reed College in Portland, OR. He has presented and written on topics related to service design, UX tools, library space assessment, website usability, and marketing of the library. His current research involves service design in the physical and virtual library environment and overall service delivery improvement. He has an MLIS from the University of Washington iSchool and an MBA from Portland State University.

Annie Downey is the Director of Research Services at the Reed College Library in Portland, OR. She has written and presented on service design, user studies, information literacy, K-20 library instruction, assessment, and academic library administration. She has an MLS and a PhD in Higher Education from the University of North Texas.

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12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Object-Oriented UX
Sophia Voychehovski, Founder and Lead UXer, ReWired UX Studio

An OOUX is a digital system that is intentionally organized around real-world objects and their relationships. Users can clearly identify object instances, their classification, and their relationships. An OOUX strives to reflect a user’s mental model of the real world. OOUX puts heterarchy over hierarchy and contextual navigation over global drill-down navigation. In this talk, Sophia will cover why object-oriented thinking is important and how to start designing "objects first."

Sophia Voychehovski is the founder of Rewired, a UX design studio based in Atlanta, GA. Rewired consults to non-profits, social entrepreneurs, and tech start-ups. A recovering perfectionist, Sophia specializes in MVPifying, complexity elimination, and ruthless prioritization. She is constantly reminding herself (and her clients) that done is better than perfect.

Sophia founded Rewired after almost a decade of leading UX efforts for clients such as Tracfone Wireless, Napa Auto Parts, AT&T, the Internal Revenue Service, the Australian Tax Office, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. She also served as a leader on CNN.com UX team, architecting CNN Trends, iReport Awards, the 2012 presidential debates experience and — most notably — the responsive system that presented results for the 2012 elections.

Sophia has a BS in Industrial Design from the Georgia Institute of Technology. You can find her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sophiavux

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1:00 p.m. - 1:35 p.m. Lunch Break

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1:35 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. Sponsor Spotlight: The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Publishing
Hannah Baldwin, Head of Marketing, Knowledge Services

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1:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. User Behavior Metrics: Identifying Patterns and Improving Experiences Across Services
Angie Thorpe, Digital User Experience Librarian, Library, Indiana University Kokomo

Web analytics tools offer libraries plenty of data that reveals how users interact with online resources. Beyond visitor counts and bounce rates, though, analytics data allows insights into patterns of user behavior. Comparing usage statistics across services and timeframes may help libraries identify their areas of strength and opportunity. In this session, I will discuss how I converted the Indiana University Kokomo Library's website and discovery service analytics data into user experience stories. I will offer suggestions for turning these UX stories into targeted advocacy efforts to improve both online and physical library services.

Angie Thorpe is the Digital User Experience Librarian at Indiana University Kokomo. She's primarily responsible for the continued development of the library's electronic resources collection and web presence. She oversees library functions including acquiring and providing access to electronic resources, incorporating web-based tools to support users' information-to-knowledge experience, and maintaining an electronic resources management system. She also provide reference services at the library's Ask A Librarian desk.

Angie holds a Master of Library Science from Indiana University at Bloomington, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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2:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Iterative User Experience Testing in an Academic Library
Jeff Gallant, Affordable Learning Georgia Visiting Program Officer for OER, University System of Georgia
Laura Wright, Head of Reference, Odum Library, Valdosta State University

Many libraries do usability or user experience (UX) testing before planning a major website redesign. There is a tendency in libraries to delay UX testing until it is “necessary” because a number of smaller changes have occurred, or are about to occur, or because patrons complaints have accumulated. UX testing does not need to wait for major changes, or an accumulation of smaller change, to a website. It can be used to refine an existing website. UX testing done between website revisions informs us how patrons are using a website and where problems are occurring. It can be focused on parts of the website that are suspected to be underused or confusing for users. Iterative UX testing allows libraries to identify ways to improve their websites between major redesigns. Ongoing UX testing also helps libraries prepare for major website changes that follow a "hurry up and wait" pattern. Librarians at Odum Library, at Valdosta State University, implemented an iterative UX testing plan in 2011. In this presentation we will discuss our experiences planning and implementing iterative UX testing, our findings and whether it was beneficial (it was!), challenges we have faced in maintaining an iterative UX plan, and recommendations for other libraries.

Jeff Gallant joined the Reference Services department at Odum Library (Valdosta State University) in 2010 as the Electronic Resources Librarian. This role included coordination of the library website’s user experience testing. In 2014, GALILEO, Georgia’s Virtual Library, selected Jeff as the full-time Visiting Program Officer for Open Educational Resources in Affordable Learning Georgia, the University System of Georgia’s new initiative to lower the cost of textbooks and improve student success and satisfaction. Jeff currently organizes and creates the initiative’s website content, coordinates the Textbook Transformation Grants program, produces promotional videos, manages communications including a weekly newsletter, coordinates an online training and development series, and presents and speaks regularly at conferences and events. Jeff has been a longtime advocate of open access and web usability in libraries, and has a background in instruction, previously teaching full courses and lessons spanning kindergarten to college educational levels. Jeff earned his Master of Library and Information Science Degree from Simmons College in Boston, MA.

Laura Wright has been the Head of Reference Services at Odum Library at Valdosta State University since 2010. Prior to that she was the Marketing Librarian for Odum Library. Laura is interested in information literacy instruction, the evolving role of reference, user experience in the physical library and online library, and library value and impact. Laura earned her Masters of Science in Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently working on her Doctor of Public Administration degree at Valdosta State University.

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2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Afternoon Break

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3:00 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. THE UX of Scholarship
The Editors of Weave: The Journal of Library User Experience

User Experience (UX) techniques are used to improve websites, services, and even physical spaces. But what about Academic Scholarship? At Weave: The Journal of Library User Experience, the editors and editorial board are all UX practitioners, so using UX techniques comes naturally when improving the journal for both authors and readers. We've redesigned the submission process and editorial workflows based on author experiences, and have made a number of changes to improve the value and experience of Weave's content for our readers.

  • Pete Coco, Web Services Librarian, Boston Public Library
  • Shoshana Mayden, Content Strategist at University of Arizona Libraries
  • Matthew Reidsma, Web Services Librarian, Grand Valley State University

Pete Coco is the Web Services Librarian at Boston Public Library and a founding editor of Weave: The Journal of Library User Experience, where he focuses on The Dialog Box. He holds an MSLIS from the University of Illinois and an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Shoshana Mayden is the Content Strategist at University of Arizona Libraries and the Copy Editor at Weave Journal of Library User Experience. She helps library staff re-write, re-think, and re-organize content, and conducts user research to help guide content creation.

Matthew Reidsma is the Web Services Librarian at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. He is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Weave: Journal of Library User Experience, a peer-reviewed, open access journal for Library User Experience professionals. He is the author of Responsive Web Design for Libraries published by ALA TechSource, and the forthcoming "Customing Library Vendor Tools for Better UX" from Libraries Unlimited. He speaks about library websites, user experience, and usability around the world. *Library Journal* named him a “Mover and Shaker” in 2013, which led to many unfortunate dance-related jokes in the Reidsma household. He writes about libraries and technology at matthewreidsma.com.

Follow-up Q&A from the virtual conference:

1. For Shoshana: Do you have any advice about being both conversational/casual and consistent/clear in the crafting of web copy?  

I think writing in a clear manner and using a conversational voice/tone can go hand-in-in hand nicely. You start with focusing on what your user's needs and structuring the writing around that. That will help ensure the writing is clear and on message. The conversational part comes in for the writing itself: addressing the reader directly ("you"), writing more like you talk (i.e. not formal). In my experience this type of writing is naturally more clear. There are lots of resources out there that give great examples for writing for the web, but a favorite is "Letting Go of the Words," by Ginny Redish.

2. Is standard English an expectation for a smooth UX for readers? Does that ever conflict with notions of more diverse content?

I'm not 100% sure I understand this question. If by standard English, you mean conventional grammar and spelling, then yes in most cases you would follow those conventions for good UX. Even though we encourage writing more like we talk, we don't write things like "What you gotta know" in most circumstances because is distracting for the reader even if it mirrors how we actually say things. It can also be more confusing for those who have a first language other than English. That's not to say that are times when people break these conventions on webpages and social media, it is again audience specific. I also think these conventions slowly change and loosen over time. 

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3:45 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Free-Range Find: User Research in the Wild
Kate Lawrence, Vice President, User Research, EBSCO Information Services

Today’s students employ diverse search strategies to discover content in support of their studies. With search results serving as the staple of the digital ecosystem, creating that experience hinges on a deep understanding of user needs at that critical juncture. While usage metrics may reveal the user’s clicks, the story behind those choices may remain untold. And as usability testing proves useful in identifying areas for improvement, going off-script to capture user pain points is not always sanctioned. Looking outside the confines of traditional research methods allows capturing the “free-range” insights of today’s researchers. This presentation will feature the experiences of the User Research Team at EBSCO Information Services as they set out to illuminate the user journey of scholarly research. Attendees will learn what what page designs elicit smiles, smirks, confusion or delight. Learnings from ethnographic studies will be shared, with insights about the complex feelings students have about searching for information and their diverse strategies for evaluating search results.

Kate Lawrence is Vice President, User Research at EBSCO Information Services, leading the research activities that enable EBSCO to gain user insight and improve the customer experience across the portfolio of EBSCO products. Kate has been a UX practitioner for more than 20 years, starting her career in health care designing online order entry systems for Brigham and Women’s Hospital, then moving into online travel, where she worked in User Experience at TripAdvisor and SilverRail Technologies. Since 2011, Kate and her team have watched thousands of users interact with EBSCO products, mobile devices, websites and interface designs, and they have discovered insights that drive improvements to products, services and processes. Kate is a member of the User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) and an active presenter in the national UX community.

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4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Roundtable Discussion 
Moderated by: Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO



SAVE! Register for multiple events.

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If paying by check, please use this PDF form.

Registration closes on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at 4:00 pm Eastern.

Registration Costs

  • NISO Member
  • $185.00 (US and Canada)
  • $225.00 (International)
  • Non-Member
    • $245.00 (US and Canada)
    • $285.00 (International)
  • Student
    • $80.00

Additional Information

  • Cancellations made by Wednesday, October 21, 2015 will receive a refund, less a $35 cancellation. After that date, there are no refunds.
  • Registrants will receive detailed instructions about accessing the virtual conference via e-mail the Friday prior to the event. (Anyone registering between Monday and the close of registration will receive the message shortly after the registration is received, within normal business hours.) Due to the widespread use of spam blockers, filters, out of office messages, etc., it is your responsibility to contact the NISO office if you do not receive login instructions before the start of the webinar.
  • If you have not received your Login Instruction email by 10AM (ET) on the Tuesday before the webinar, please contact the NISO office at nisohq@niso.org for immediate assistance.
  • Registration is per site (access for one computer) and includes access to the online recorded archive of the conference. You may have as many people as you like from the registrant's organization view the conference from that one connection. If you need additional connections, you will need to enter a separate registration for each connection needed.
  • If you are registering someone else from your organization, either use that person's e-mail address when registering or contact nisohq@niso.org to provide alternate contact information.
  • Conference presentation slides and Q&A will be posted to this event webpage following the live conference.
  • Registrants will receive an e-mail message containing access information to the archived conference recording within 48 hours after the event. This recording access is only to be used by the registrant's organization.