ACRL/NY User Experience discussion group “Dark Patterns”
Tuesday November 10, 2015- 5:00pm-6:30pm
CUNY Graduate Center, Mina Rees Library
Attendees: Mark Aaron Polger, co-chair (CSI, CUNY), Lily Sacharow (Berkeley College), Chanitra Bishop (Hunter College, CUNY), Phoebe Stein (SVA)
Regrets: Albert Tablante, co-chair
Dark Patterns are when web designers purposely create user interfaces to confuse the user. According to DarkPatterns.org, they are “user interfaces that has been carefully crafted to trick users into doing things, such as buying insurance with their purchase or signing up for recurring bills.”
In the broadest sense, are our libraries designed to create confusing experiences? Are our libraries unintentionally designed like mazes for our users? Are we creating “Dark Patterns” unintentionally on our web sites and in our physical spaces?
Web Sites: Front page, Docutek e-reserves, LibGuides
Confusing, too much text, too much content, too many menus, overwhelming
Articles tab has “A-Z list of databases”, “Databases by subject”, Discovery layer
Librarians provide too much info
Must be selected and curated
Some libraries have a User Experience Committee, comes out of the Web Site committee. Sometimes, comes out of Access Services Committee.
User Experience should extend beyond web sites. UX even extends to building layout, entrance, furniture design, placement of reference desk, placement of staircase, stacks, etc
Docutek- e-reserves is confusing
Too many clicks
Confusing, buried, inconsistent design
LibGuides- subject specific of class specific
Can students find them?
May help prevent unintentional Dark Patterns
Testing should be done once per year
Observational, task based activities
Have Silverback usability testing software (v.3)
Read the task- ask library users to explain the process
Take digital video for playback using Quicktime or Camtasia (for analysis)
How many subjects? 5-10 people?
Try different user groups
Observe users’ behavior
Classroom testing may be effective
Web Site Re-Design
Librarian or Designer or Outsourced to Company?
Should be Library-Centric design
Librarians should collaborate and be part of the design process
Committee responsible for developing design, function, and hierarchy
Web Committee- students and systems staff in addition to librarians to help reduce web site navigational confusion
Content Management System or HTML web pages
Symphony or Drupal or WordPress, or HTML static pages
Building Design- Dark Patterns
Confusing array of staircases, entrances, elevators, directional signage
Not a branded building, Infrastructure restrictions, architecture features as limitations to access
Physical Spaces: building space, service design, directional signage, entrance, exit, staircase
Track users’ walking patterns
Circulation and Reference Desk? What floor are they located ?
Collection Spaces- confusing, library services without a collection
Reference, circulating/non circulating, film, oversize, main stacks
Directional Signage- should address confusion
Berkeley College Manhattan- e-Library (computer lab model), and Study Center (traditional library with physical books)
Hunter College- 9 floors, entrance is not on the 1st floor
Mission of the Library: Identity Crisis, Decreasing Reference Collection
With a decreasing reference collection, should it be integrated with the main circulating collection to reduce confusion
Are libraries confusing? Do they look like computer labs or school cafeterias?
Are librarians and libraries confusing our users by providing too many services, too much information?
Social space, study space, collection space, meeting space, technology space, are we having an identity crisis?
Librarians’ roles are confusing. Are we I.T. technicians? What are we?
Reference desk – should it be replaced with an I.T. help desk? Should reference desk be hidden and I.T. help desk more visible?
Libraries associated with books and Info/Learning Commons associated with computers
Library Computers: software, hardware expectations, open vs. locked down
Should library computers match software/hardware as regular computer labs
Open computers versus locked computers
Student HelpDesk phone at reference desk may reduce confusion if they cannot login to computers.
Reset password stations versus going to I.T. helpdesk to reset password