/ Can User Experience Research Be Trusted? A Study of the UX Practitioner Experience in Academic Libraries

Abstract

Despite user experience (UX) research becoming more commonplace in libraries, library staff don't always see its value or relevance. They may ignore or actively resist UX insights. We interviewed fifteen UX practitioners working in academic libraries in the US and Canada to get their perspectives on the reception of UX research in their libraries. We learned that as UX researchers, none of us is alone in facing moments of skepticism, mistrust, and indifference about UX research. We share some of the practical strategies and advice we learned from our interview respondents.

Introduction

This study was motivated by frustration with our work as user experience (UX) librarians in an academic library. Our job is to discover what our students and faculty need, want, and expect from the library. We explore their research and learning practices, and we examine how library services, resources, and spaces support these practices. This is enjoyable and often fascinating. We love talking to our users and observing their behaviors. But when it comes to applying our findings to improve the user experience, we run into problems. We rely on the skills and expertise of our library colleagues to implement many of our findings; however, they don’t always share our enthusiasm for UX research. Instead, they often challenge, reject, or just plain ignore our work, and as a result we aren’t able to make improvements and address user pain points.

Over the years we have developed strategies to work more effectively with our colleagues. We have invited them to participate as researchers, collaborated with them to develop insights and recommendations, and become more concise and strategic with our reports and communications. Nevertheless, we continue to encounter resistance to our research findings. Years of facing these challenges has left us feeling that our colleagues don’t trust our expertise, our methods, or our analysis and interpretation. We were curious to know whether other UX practitioners in libraries have had similar experiences. And if so, what are they doing about it?

Literature Review

There are no previous studies which focus explicitly on the connection between UX research, libraries, and trust. Here we approach our theme obliquely through a review of the literature on the experiences of UX practitioners in libraries and the literature on skepticism and mistrust of UX and qualitative research in general. We also look at the literature on the use of evidence for decision-making in libraries.

Studies on the work and experience of UX librarians acknowledge many of the challenges involved in assimilating UX practice in the library. Priestner (2019) pointed out, “UX usually sits awkwardly in most organisations—neither owned nor actively approved” (p.41). Lundberg’s (2017) master thesis touched on the importance of organizational buy-in and advocacy for UX methods in libraries (p. 70). Tobias (2015) described the importance of educating library staff about the mission and value of UX research, and of establishing clear roles and expectations in user experience projects involving library colleagues. The title of her article, “From dandelion to seeds to cottage garden: The transformation of user experience in the MSU libraries,” hints that some may view UX as a nuisance weed if not carefully managed.

Two recent studies investigated the experiences of UX library practitioners. The first, by MacDonald (2017), explored—among other things—“the challenges UX librarians face when doing their work, and the degree to which library staff understand UX librarianship” (p.195). These challenges include navigating the library’s culture, overcoming resource limitations, finding ways to scale and scope UX work, gaining trust/support from colleagues, not having enough training or expertise, and troubleshooting technology problems. More recently, MacDonald (2019) proposed a way forward to improve the adoption of UX research in organizations, acknowledging that “overcoming these organizational challenges is a persistent pain point for UX professionals” (p.187).

The second is a survey by Young et al. (2020) on UX maturity in academic libraries. The authors correlated UX maturity with a number of factors, including the UX practitioner’s facility with a variety of UX research methods and organizational leadership and support for UX. Most relevant to our own study, they also identified the importance of collaborating successfully with library colleagues on UX projects and using UX research for decision making. A library with a more mature UX program enjoys “a widespread understanding of UX...with user research data integrated into decision-making” (pp. 17–18). Many respondents to the survey acknowledged the opposite was true in their own library because “other staff or departments within the organization are not ready to embrace the potential of UX data, methods, and insights” (p. 18). One respondent lamented, “We are at the stage where people know they should consult with us, but either they don’t OR they do but don’t really hear the results, they are using us to confirm what they want to hear” (p.22).

Trust and acceptance of UX research in organizations is a common concern among UX professionals in many sectors. There are numerous articles in UX industry publications about advocating for UX research (Nielsen, 2005; Six, 2009), promoting a UX mindset (Caballer, 2016), convincing leadership of the value of UX (Berchild, 2018; Philips, n.d.; Travis, 2012), building trust in the UX process (Ross, 2011), and managing the stress of UX work (Wojnarowska, 2020).

In recognition of the challenges facing UX integration, researchers have proposed several UX maturity models which chart the levels of UX adoption and integration into an organization. Young et al. (2020) proposed an eight-stage model based on an older model by Nielsen Norman Group. At the most mature stage, “UX is practiced throughout the organization; decisions are made and resources are allocated only with UX insights as a guide” (p. 19). Similarly, in Chapman and Plewes’ (2014) five-stage maturity model, an organization reaches the highest level of maturity when leaders and employees value and integrate the contributions of UX research. Carraro (2014) also proposed a model in which UX maturity means everyone at all levels of the organization participates in UX. Priestner (2017) created a UX adoption model consisting of four spectra on which to plot the likelihood of UX success. The organization which values and practices innovation, agility, acceptance of failure, and user focus enjoys the greatest UX success.

UX researchers have learned that no UX department can succeed as an isolated unit. The wider organization must commit to the user perspective, otherwise UX research will have limited impact. Priestner (2017) emphasized that “in order for UX to really work [for an organization]...it needs to be part of everything they do” (para. 1). Godfrey (2015) stressed the importance of organization-wide “join-in” for usability to permeate the culture. Tempelman-Kluit (2017) provided strategies for garnering library buy-in for UX research.

As UX researchers, we want our findings to be used as evidence to help inform decisions and lead to positive changes for our users. But for many reasons, evidence-based decision making is not a given in most libraries. The barriers to using evidence effectively lie in organizational structure and culture. Koufogiannakis (2015) concluded that “[t]o practice in an evidence-based manner, a librarian needs a positive work environment, time to use or create evidence, a positive outlook, ongoing education and training, and access to relevant information” (p. 111). Hiller et al. (2008) cited library staff’s lack of training in research methods, as well as skepticism about user research “preferring instead to rely on their own assumptions and past practices to make decisions” (p. 228). Organizational culture and leadership are other important factors which can contribute to or detract from good practice.

These challenges are not unique to libraries. The literature on evidence-based medicine cites organizational politics and other system-level barriers as obstacles to using research evidence effectively. Bowen et al. (2009) noted political factors, lack of time and resources, and organizational structures among reasons evidence is not integrated into decision-making. When it comes to using qualitative research as evidence, the challenges can be even greater.

In most organizations, qualitative research is misunderstood and mistrusted compared to quantitative research. Morse (2006) argued that qualitative researchers “are in for a long and rough ride” (p. 399) before their work is taken seriously in health science. Ladner, a respected sociologist and UX researcher, frequently writes and speaks on the challenge of conveying the purpose and value of qualitative research in business organizations. In an online course on ethnographic research, she described the general bias toward quantitative, scientific “truth” and a lack of understanding of the value of qualitative insights (2020).

Qualitative research explores, discovers, and generates new ideas while quantitative research measures and validates existing things. Both are important, but qualitative research often takes more time, does not provide easy answers, and tends to be misunderstood and underappreciated. Ladner (2020) ascribed a natural skepticism toward qualitative research to a variety of human cognitive biases:

  • We experience cognitive dissonance if the research contradicts our strongly held beliefs.
  • We are vulnerable to the just-world fallacy when we believe that there’s nothing wrong with our product or service; it’s the incompetent or lazy user who needs to change.
  • We are risk-averse and loss-averse; we don’t want to hear about problems so we can keep doing things the way we’ve always done them.

Research Questions

The literature demonstrates that organizations may block any research, and especially qualitative research, due to cognitive and cultural bias, internal politics, and organizational constraints. This legitimizes our experience and helps us understand some of the reasons it is so hard to develop a successful UX research program. Still, it does not assuage or explain the visceral feeling of not having our colleagues’ trust. We wanted to explore this further with other UX practitioners. Do they feel support from their colleagues for their UX work, or do they also experience trust issues? If they encounter resistance from library staff to their UX research, how do they explain this resistance, and what strategies do they employ to counter it?

Research Method

We obtained research ethics approval to investigate how UX practitioners in academic libraries perceive how their colleagues use and value UX research. We used a criterion-based purposive sampling method to recruit participants. Criterion sampling “involves searching for cases or individuals who meet a certain criterion” (Palys, 2008, p. 698). In our study, eligible participants were currently or recently employed in an academic library in Canada or the US and held positions in which they devoted a significant portion of their work to UX research. They must have worked in user research for at least two years, but did not need to be a professional librarian or have “user experience” in their job title. We scoured our own networks and reached out to colleagues who have presented and published in the field of library UX.

Before conducting the interviews, we individually wrote short reflections as an exercise to understand our positionality as researchers and to surface any biases that might influence the data analysis process. We discussed these reflections with each other. For example, Robin wrote in her reflection:

I have to confess I hold certain attitudes and assumptions about my colleagues. It often feels like we are doing the work and putting it into a black hole. Seldom do we see our work taken seriously enough to make any of the changes our research suggests could improve the user experience. So why is this? Admittedly, my first instinct is to blame my colleagues. They are afraid to learn the truth. They think they know better. They don’t understand how qualitative research works. They are unwilling or unable to change. They don’t want the extra work our findings might imply. It’s personal: they don’t trust me. I now realize I do UX work with a bit of a chip on my shoulder and a stick-it-to-them mindset.

Juliene’s reflections were a lot less harsh! Robin’s strong view of our colleagues surprised her. By expressing these values and assumptions in advance of the interviews, we were more careful not to let our own biases slip into the conversations with respondents or into our analysis of their responses.

We conducted one-hour semi-structured interviews by phone or Google Hangouts with fifteen UX practitioners, all of whom happened to be professional librarians. During the interviews we explored the context of UX in their workplace and their feelings and experiences of working in library UX. The interview questions are available as an appendix. We did not ask every question to every participant, but let the conversation evolve according to the interests and passions of each participant. Mindful of bringing our own biases to the interview questions, we explicitly asked about trust only once, and we did not directly ask respondents if they feel their colleagues trust them or their research.

We transcribed the interviews and uploaded them to the qualitative data analysis software Nvivo. We each identified key concepts and themes in the first three interviews, then discussed these concepts and themes and agreed upon the strongest and most interesting. This is “open coding,” an inductive process of “bringing order to and making sense of the data” (Benaquisto, 2008, p. 86). We continued to code three interviews at a time, and throughout the process we met to discuss any emerging codes. For example, the concept of “self-care” was a strong theme which became one of our codes. We identified words, phrases, and paragraphs in the transcripts which related to the self-care theme. Through regular discussions, we came to a shared understanding of what “self-care” and the other codes we identified meant, though we did not develop an explicit coding frame with definitions of each code.

In total, we created nineteen codes, known as “nodes” in Nvivo. Nvivo let us sort the contents of the transcripts according to our code categories so we could reevaluate the strength of the patterns we were seeing. Where we saw overlaps and relationships in the themes, we collapsed some nodes, and we removed those we deemed weaker. In the end we had seven strong nodes, or themes, which we describe in detail below.

Limitations

Purposive sampling suited our research question. We were looking for UX library practitioners who had a track record of experience to draw on and the inclination to reflect on their UX practice. Our sampling choice is vulnerable to the critique of researcher bias. Did we deliberately (or unconsciously) select respondents who would reinforce our own beliefs and experiences? Is there an inherent commonality of thought and experience within our professional network of contacts, and among those practitioners who publish and present their work, which limited the potential breadth of responses? It is possible, but the advantage of talking to practitioners whom we knew had reflected on their practice and the exploratory nature of our research justifies the nonprobability sampling technique.

Findings

The participants work in a variety of academic library environments, both public and private, and in large medical/doctoral research institutions as well as smaller comprehensive universities in the US and Canada. Eight participants work at Canadian academic libraries. Three are at medical doctoral institutions, three are at comprehensive institutions, and one participant works at a primarily undergraduate university. This Canadian university classification scheme comes from the annual university rankings report by the Canadian current affairs magazine Maclean’s (Dwyer, 2018).

The remainder of the participants work at US university libraries. According to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education (n.d.), five participants work at public doctoral institutions and two work at private not-for-profit doctoral universities. The UX work experience of participants ranges from three to nine years; the average is just over five years. Most participants held other library positions before coming to UX. Some participants work in libraries with incipient UX programs or no formal UX program at all; others lead a large UX research department in their library. Some focus on UX; others have many other job responsibilities.

Despite these differences, we found many common concerns and perspectives among our participants. We ended up with seven codes that cut across nearly every interview:

  1. Experiencing negative feelings
  2. Managing trust
  3. Handling organizational constraints
  4. Building collegial relationships
  5. Developing strong communication practices and educating colleagues
  6. Working strategically
  7. Practicing self-care

We describe each of these themes below.

1. Experiencing Negative Feelings

We began our interviews as neutrally as possible by asking participants to describe their workplace and the role of UX in their library. Without exception, each participant revealed early in the interview that they had experienced negative feelings of frustration and disappointment in their work. They felt UX was often misunderstood, distrusted, and undervalued. In the excerpts from the interviews below, all participant names are pseudonyms.

[N]obody cares about this. We aren’t valued. We aren’t making as much of a difference as I wish we were. (Jessie)

It’s totally possible that someone would ask us to do a project for them, and we would spend all of this time doing a project, we would write recommendations, and then they are like ‘meh’ and then just ignore all of them. (Morgan)

Participants suggested a variety of reasons for the resistance to UX research, which we grouped into two main themes: trust and organizational constraints. We also learned about the steps and strategies UX practitioners in libraries are taking to support themselves and their work.

2. Managing Trust

Despite not asking respondents whether their colleagues trust them, the theme of trust did naturally emerge. Respondents said that some library colleagues don’t trust the validity or applicability of UX research methods.

There are people who are skeptical of the work I do because they feel that the methodologies most often used by UX work are not rigorous enough...[They] don’t see any value in the things that aren’t pretty strongly quantitatively based. (Lee)

I think there is something about qualitative evidence that people do question a little more because they’re more familiar with surveys. [They assume] if we surveyed 10,000 people and they said x, well that’s clearly super valid and we have to pay attention to that. But I think some of that is probably more statistical and methods illiteracy. People respond to numbers in a certain way, so any qualitative research is going to find that a little more difficult. (Taylor)

UX requires colleagues to say, “I’m comfortable with engaging with you because I trust your expertise and that we are all working for the same end goal.” (Omar)

UX practitioners speculate that their work isn’t trusted because library staff don’t understand UX research.

It’s a lot of explaining to people that user experience and service design is about generating insights, not understanding the capital T truth of the matter. (Avery)

They seem to know that UX is a thing, but they kind of treat it like a spice you sprinkle on top of something. Oh, we should UX that! (Avery)

Sometimes colleagues prefer to rely on their own expertise and personal experience instead of the evidence of user research, especially when user research challenges or contradicts library staff’s beliefs.

There are people who feel that librarian expertise should be more of a driving force than user ease of use and comfort. (Lee)

A critique of UX is, “We should trust ourselves as library professionals that we know what is best for our users and that maybe they [users] don’t know what is best. And they say they want a Google-like search experience, but we know better than that.” (Blake)

I think for public service people who have anecdotal evidence...they think they know, they always know best, and I’m not sure how to get around that. (Taylor)

We talk a lot about wanting to be evidence-based, but at the end of the day that doesn’t seem to be the practice. (Avery)

3. Handling Organizational Constraints

There is a wide range of cultural, political, and structural reasons why libraries resist UX research. One of the reasons cited most frequently in our study was the perception that UX research creates more work for everybody and slows down projects.

There was a lot of skepticism at first, like, “What is this work exactly?” and, “This is creating more work for us,” and, “We’re fine the way we are.” (Blake)

I’ve heard things like... “Quinn will just slow things down” or “Quinn will always give you pushback whenever you try to work with him.” (Quinn)

UX practitioners often don’t have enough social or political power and authority to influence decisions or effect change. In some libraries, UX practitioners do not feel support from library leadership.

We aren’t empowered to make changes like I wish we could. (Jessie)

You do need someone at a top level to say this is important to us as a library...the people above me in my immediate area maybe didn’t understand the value of what [UX research] was providing to the library. (Ari)

Some library colleagues may feel that UX work is “meddling” beyond the UX librarian’s domain, particularly when the research asks difficult questions and challenges how things are being done.

I do feel like sometimes people think UX work is some kind of euphemism for being a Budinski or that you just want to boss everybody, partly because you are asking some questions that maybe haven’t been asked in a while. (Morgan)

You sometimes find unpopular things. UX is digging and assessing and asking why and asking questions and looking to see results....You could view it as, “Oh you’re finding all of these great things that we maybe need to tackle,” but you could also see it as, “Oh you’re just a bucket of complaints.” (Ari)

The UX practitioners we spoke to are passionate about the work and believe in its value. They are putting effort into building collegial relationships and educating colleagues about UX research, as well as working strategically to address the resistance.

4. Building Collegial Relationships

Positive relationships with colleagues are essential to getting buy-in for UX research. UX practitioners deliberately focus on cultivating relationships with library colleagues they rely on to execute the findings of UX research. Building personal trust between the UX researcher and their colleagues is key to positive relationships.

It’s a lot of following up. It’s a lot of nudges; it’s a lot of email check-ins and establishing enough of a relationship and a rapport that that feel like they owe me a response. (Blake)

Fifty percent of UX is selling it. And a lot of UX is stakeholder wrangling....You have to maneuver with people. You have to have social skills, people skills; that’s like half the job, honestly. (Quinn)

Trust is critical for moving your UX work forward in your organization....It takes time. A lot of working in the organization and building up the trust, building up relationships, partnering with other people...It’s just been a lot of culture shifts and getting the support of the top-level administration too. (Devon)

I have to expend a lot of [energy] to get buy-in to do things that I think would benefit users....If [we] don’t have the support from leadership or from other allies in the organization it can really be challenging to not be seen like a nag or a wet blanket all the time. (Kai)

5. Developing Strong Communication Practices and Educating Colleagues

Our participants recognize the importance of communicating effectively with colleagues and educating colleagues about UX research principles, values, and methods. Participants think of themselves as advocates for user needs.

A big part of my job is communicating. In fact, all of my job is communication. That is what my job is. And that’s what user experience is about, right? (Morgan)

You have to be in a position of always defending your work, educating and explaining...and being comfortable with that pushback, and making sure you can advocate is important. (Sam)

Our respondents were careful to communicate with the right information presented in a friendly format.

I think adding yourself into the mix, so delivering that report in a presentation that’s very lightweight, friendly, a conversational partnership kind of way. I think if people see you and your face and they connect that to the work and they like you...there’s a much better chance of adoption of your findings. (Ari)

Not to make big long reports that no one is going to read; I just put snappy quick-to-the-minute basic information about what I found, what it means, what’s next. (Quinn)

My new approach is instead of just giving the recommendations we talk about the findings together and co-create the recommendations with the stakeholders because that seems like it is more impactful and more likely to have buy-in, and they can help build up their own techniques and skills around how to do that. (Devon)

6. Working Strategically

Many UX practitioners are choosing projects strategically. Before they start a project, they consider the likelihood that their work will make a difference. Do they have buy-in from decision makers? Do they have some control over implementing change? Is the research timely and critical? Have they worked successfully with this colleague before?

I want to choose it [the project] very carefully to make sure that it will have an impact. I don’t want to do research that will go nowhere. It is a waste of my time. I have to focus on building relationships...and doing research projects that I know the stakeholders involved will see and say, “Oh we could change that. We could do this.” (Quinn)

We have been really mindful about what projects we have taken on, to be able to make sure that they are things that we have some agency over. Because I really don’t want these new people getting burned out after six months or a year just because it’s a horrible slog. (Morgan)

You could work day and night on projects in the library to make the student experience better, but some of those are more impactful than others, and knowing what to choose and how to choose it and who to work with and who to talk to is overlooked sometimes. (Ari)

It’s all organizational politics. Who’s going to listen to you and why? How can you get your message to the people who are making the decisions? (Taylor)

7. Practicing Self-Care

We heard of a variety of ways that UX practitioners are taking care of themselves to cope with frustration and alleviate fatigue and stress. They spoke of taking care of their health, avoiding projects that seem hopeless from the start, and focusing on things they can control, like scholarship and service activities.

I have to get a lot of sleep because this work takes a lot out of you. I feel like for people who love doing it, it becomes personal in a different way....You become really invested in it. (Morgan)

Nobody cares about this. We aren’t valued. We aren’t making as much of a difference as I wish we were. So I’m just going to write and present and give back in this way. (Jessie)

A common strategy is to involve library colleagues in the UX research process from inception so that everyone is invested in the research, though this is not always successful. Other UX practitioners are trying to accept that their work will sometimes be ignored and are focusing on small wins. Despite the daily frustrations, many UX practitioners love the work and believe it matters. They accept that change takes time, so they try to be patient.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint....If you are someone who puts a lot of energy into something, or has your heart set on a certain change, you will get disappointed and disillusioned so fast. (Kai)

Not burning out in the work is to really stay grounded and realistic about what is possible...and celebrating the little wins....I really think...the value in this work is in small, iterative improvements, and so just accepting those as wins is good. And keep it playful....I take a lot of joy from practicing the new skills and developing those or trying new tools. (Avery)

There are, in my library, people who have opinions that seem very set in stone, and you know what they are because you hear them all of the time....I’m probably never going to convince them, and that’s fine, but I think about trying to convince the people around them....One of my pieces of advice is just keep doing the work anyway. (Taylor)

Discussion

Despite the diversity of libraries and UX programs in which the participants work, we found much in common in their perspectives. Some participants were more successful than others in integrating UX research into their organization, but these successes did not come without long investment in building trusting relationships with colleagues and advocating for the value and legitimacy of UX work. Trust is an important factor, as is leadership support and a conducive organizational structure and culture. UX work can be draining, and it’s important for UX practitioners to recognize they are not alone in needing to protect and take care of themselves.

Most participants acknowledged that they taught themselves how to do UX research and did not have any formal credentials. Avery said many UX practitioners in libraries experience imposter syndrome, which is magnified when colleagues don’t trust our work. One participant who decided to pursue formal education in UX said this lent some credibility to her work. Perhaps pursuing credentialed professional development would raise our value in the eyes of our colleagues.

An interesting, though less prevalent, theme emerged which may be ripe for future research. This is the neoliberal critique of UX work. UX practitioners should be aware of the neoliberal critique and be ready to respond to it. Lee told us “there are people who are suspicious of me because they feel that UX work [like assessment work] is...just part of this big conspiracy to neoliberalize the library.” Some library staff worry that an over-emphasis on a frictionless user experience might be at the expense of student learning. Sam acknowledged that some colleagues flag “tensions between being user-centered and being learner-centered.” To this concern, Taylor responded, “I think about UX as care work. I don’t want things to be harder [for users] than they need to be.”

Recommendations

As UX librarians ourselves, this research helped advance our practice in many useful ways. We experienced the value of connecting with other UX practitioners for ideas, strategies, and support. Other librarians’ experiences validated our frustrations and concerns. Almost all the participants expressed that they were grateful for the opportunity to reflect on and share their experiences. Iman said “It’s actually really reassuring to hear these questions from you and know that we’re not alone.”

There are no easy answers to how to convince our colleagues that UX work is valuable and necessary; however, we can offer some insights from this study:

  • Accept that the fruits of UX labor take time. Be patient and embrace small wins and improvements.
  • Have empathy for colleagues as well as users. Seek to understand their motivations and pain points.
  • Develop relationships with colleagues. They are critical, and this is time well spent.
  • Be pragmatic. Understand how decisions get made in your organization and adapt your practices to the culture.
  • Practice self-care. Empathy for the user is fundamental to UX research, but empathy can be a burden too, leading to adverse physical and emotional symptoms related to compassion fatigue (Castillo, 2019).

Conclusion

This research explored the experiences of UX practitioners in libraries with respect to feeling trusted and getting buy-in from library colleagues. Our findings showed us that we are not alone in the challenges we face as UX researchers. Respondents expressed relief and gratitude for being able to commiserate and share their frustrations with us. All of us strongly believe that UX research is necessary and important, and we will continue the journey to convince other library staff of the value of our work. It helps to know that we are on this journey together.

References

Appendix: Interview Questions

Context of UX in the Library Environment

  • 1. What is your job title?
  • 2. How long have you been in this position?
  • 3. What is your background and experience in UX?
  • 4. How long has there been a user experience position(s) in your library?
  • 5. Please tell me about the scope and mission or purpose of user experience in your library.
  • 6. Where does this position sit in the organization?
    • • Who do you report to?
    • • Are you part of a team? Please explain.

Experience of the Work

  • 7. How do you determine what research you will do?
  • 8. Do you have an ethics protocol?
  • 9. How do you work with others in the library?
  • 10. How do you interact with library administrators or managers?
  • 11. What do you do with your findings?
    • • Do you make recommendations based on your findings?
  • 12. How do you communicate your findings to your colleagues?
    • • To your library administration?
    • • To users?
  • 13. What effect do your findings have on your library/users/colleagues?
  • 14. Are you in a position to implement change?
    • • Do you have the authority, role, influence, power, expertise....?
  • 15. To what extent do you feel empowered to hold colleagues accountable for outcomes or recommendations resulting from your research?

Reflections on the Place of UX in the Library

  • 16. Are you aware of any critiques or concerns of user experience practice from colleagues?
  • 17. How have you addressed these critiques or concerns?
    • • How has your work as a user experience librarian changed since you started in this role?
  • 18. How you design and conduct your research
    • • How you work with your colleagues
    • • How you interact with library managers or administrators
    • • How you think about the role of user experience in your library
  • 19. What do you think are some of the key issues for user experience researchers in academic libraries today?
  • 20. How “mature”/integrated/adopted is user experience in your library?
    • • Where on the “ladder of user experience adoption” would you put your library?
    • • What are some of the realities or factors that enable or inhibit UX research from being used in your library?
  • 21. I’d like to get your thoughts on what, if anything, the following terms mean for you in your work as a user experience researcher. If a term doesn’t resonate with you in the context of your work, we will move onto the next one:
    • • bias
    • • trust/credibility
    • • evidence
    • • organizational politics
    • • qualitative or quantitative.
  • 22. What advice for best practices would you give a new user experience researcher to improve the chances her research will lead to positive changes in your library?
  • 23. Can you suggest anyone else who works in UX in an academic library you would suggest I speak to?