UX Projects for Spring and Summer 2023

Now that we have recently gotten LibCal set up to manage our room reservation service, my colleague Kinza Sheikh and I are working on some new projects for the library website.

Updating Floor Maps

It’s been a long time since our current floor maps were designed. They need a complete overhaul, which will be easier if we start from scratch than if we try to edit the JPGs that are on the site now. We’ve looked into various DIY approaches using assorted software systems (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.), but those tools require more time than we have, as we’d have to ramp up our graphic design skills as well as learn the finer points of using those softwares. Instead, we’re looking at mapping services from Springshare and from StackMap. I hope to meet soon with reps from those companies and can learn enough about their services so we can choose wisely between them. One major concern for us as we embark on adding new services is how we can minimize any technical debt we take on with a new service. Our library is in the middle of some notable renovations (setting up compact shelving to open up more spaces for seating) that will likely be on-again, off-again efforts; with every change, we’ll likely need to tweak any maps we’ve got, and I want to make sure that doing those updates isn’t too onerous a task.

Removing a Twitter Feed Display from the Home Page

With Twitter’s future uncertain, we’ve been planning for the possibility that we will need to quickly update a suddenly defunct box on the library home page displaying recent tweets from the library’s account. One option that we’re considering is using the hours info plugged into LibCal to display an hours widget in the space formerly occupied by the Twitter display. I want to do some usability testing with users on mobile devices, as library hours is one of those things that users most want to look up while on their phones (as they ride the subways, trains, and buses to campus, dash about campus, etc.)

Fix the Broken COMPUTERS Box on the Home Page

The software that our campus IT uses to display a live feed of computer availability in the library and in the main computer lab is in the process of being updated. While we await the completion of that work, the displays of computer availability on our home page are zeroed out and of use to no one. I am eager to get them working again.

Prioritizing Projects

Figuring out what to do with the Twitter feed is probably the most pressing problem, who knows when Elon’s disastrous management of his new toy is going to break the system we have for displaying tweets. The floor maps problem has been bugging me for a while, but it requires me to seek support for spending money to fix it, so that’s likely to take a bit of long-term work. The computers display depends on where campus IT is in setting up the new software; fixing that might happen more quickly than I imagine. Anyway, my plate is full and I’m ready to dig in.