General information

UX “don’ts” we still need from Erika Hall

The second edition of Erika Hall’s Just Enough Research dropped October 2019; although this excellent volume was previously unknown to me I am taking the opportunity now to consume, embody, and evangelize Hall’s approach to user research. Or, as Hall might put it, I’m a willing convert to the gospel of “Enoughening”. Hall is a seasoned design consultant and co-founder of Mule Design Studio but her commercial approach is tempered by a no-nonsense attitude that makes her solutions and suggestions palatable to a small UX team such as my own at Indiana University Bloomington Libraries. Rather than conduct a formulaic book review of Just Enough Research, I want to highlight some specific things Hall tells the reader not to do in their UX research. This list of five “don’ts” summarize Hall’s tone, style, and approach. It will also highlight the thesis of the second edition’s brand new chapter on surveys….

Original Content

A Chinese and American librarian talk user research and intellectual property

students studying in the library

In April 2018, I traveled to China and presented research on user research and information literacy at the Beijing Normal University (BNU) and the Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing. Both universities have relationships with the University of Montana, and ours was one of many diplomatic/academic trips that zig-zag across the Pacific Ocean. In Beijing, I presented a paper that connected my teaching with my experience doing user research, particularly usability testing of the library website at the University of Montana’s Mansfield Library, where I am based. My interpreter while at BNU, Ran, has been an instruction librarian there for ten years, during which the library has never used user research or UX methodologies to inform any of its decision-making. This difference of experience between us and our institutions fostered fascinating and enlightening conversations. “In China, most librarians want to lead (or guide) students’ behavior but not…