Workshop session: Lean Ethnography: gain insights to improve the library experience

Kate Lawrence, EBSCO Information Services

Concurrent session 17
Thursday 16 February 2017, 2:30pm - 2:55pm


For libraries looking to understand patron needs and deliver an improved user experience (UX), a lean version of ethnography – one that can be accomplished with minimal resources and cost – is a valuable addition to every research methods toolkit. This workshop will teach a lean, agile version of traditional ethnography methods for libraries to adopt to gain knowledge and insight that can change the trajectory of library resource planning.

The creation of a successful user experience hinges on a deep understanding of user needs and emotions during the information-seeking journey. While usage metrics may deliver data that document users’ click paths, the story behind those clicks may remain untold. Traditional usability testing proves useful in identifying areas for improvement, but going “offscript” to capture user pain points is not always sanctioned. Ethnographic research is a way to capture the panoramic view of the patron user experience. Instead of focusing on a single moment of the journey, ethnography is about unearthing the reasons behind the choices users make, and insights gained form a user narrative for a library and its resources.

At first glance, the details of ethnographic user research may appear complicated - distilling findings, synthesizing results, modeling after the Six Sigma method – but what may appear to be overwhelming is in fact, quite manageable, even if the UX team is a team of one. In this workshop, Kate Lawrence of EBSCO Information Services will break down ethnographic research into digestible and actionable steps, inspiring attendees to “go into the wild” and learn the true experiences of their users.

Starting with identifying an appropriate sample size, to planning participant sessions and analyzing findings, workshop attendees will learn why ethnography trumps other research methods when you are trying to understand users’ true behaviors. During this interactive and dynamic session, Kate will teach the basics of ethnography, and provide the tools to empower attendees to return to their institutions with the skills to conduct a basic ethnographic study.

Paper - Available now.

Presentation - Available now.


Creative Commons Licence

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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