Project: Digital Library services

Client: University of Manchester

This multi-faceted user experience project was driven by two core objectives – to identify the pain points across the current library service relating to the discovery, access and related functions, and to envision the critical characteristics of a re-designed service experience (working title ‘iLibrary’).

This involved working with users at all levels through a combination of focus groups and an integrated online survey. In parallel we interviewed key stakeholders in the library and in university management. A critical part of the approach was to elicit user opinions and practices relating to the ongoing and potentially enhanced value of the physical library space (notably the main university library) in the context of digital developments. This approach attracted input from around 400 individuals, representing a good balance of undergraduate (all years), and postgraduate students, post-Docs and tenured academics, as well as library staff.

The findings gave the library team an evidence base and explicit user endorsement to enact a strategic change programme, linking to other critical systems investments in LMS (Alma) and research management (Pure). It was also significant this work identified a number of UX imperatives that could be delivered tactically, ahead of wider systems change, ranging from improving remote access and Single Sign On to changes in the provisioning of core readings.

This work also led to a wider Sero HE investigation of user experience and expectation involving a further seven libraries (and most notably Glasgow), which is reported publicly at https://www.iii.com/sites/default/files/UK-Survey-Report-July-2015.pdf .

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