The Universitat Oberta de Catalunya¬†(Open University of Catalonia, UOC) employs user-centered design in all technological projects it develops. However, this process is not only valid for user interface design, but for any kind of product or service design.
User-centered design is
“a process in which the needs, wants, and limitations of¬†end users¬†of a¬†product¬†are given extensive attention at each stage of the¬†design process”.
For example, the process is applicable to libraries when designing and improving their service.
Likewise, LITA, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), provides training on how to apply the UCD process in libraries.¬†Other institutions, such as Oregon State University, also favour this process and apply it in their daily activities. So OSU library has its own¬†usability team.
However, most of the examples that we can find today are processes applied to user interfaces, such as the library’s website.
- User-centered information architecture of University Library Website
- User-Centered Design and Usability Testing of a Web Site: An Illustrative Case Study
The James Madison University Libraries explain¬†the process they followed to redesign their site.
We also found some examples involving the catalogue interface.
In this presentation, the Hamburg libraries talk about their experience with the Beluga project, the new library catalogue for the Hamburg libraries’ collections. They explain the results of focus group sessions with users regarding Beluga and offer some examples of other library services that they have analysed.
The case study of LIBRIS, the Swedish National Union¬†Catalogue, is explained here:
An approach to the presence of ebooks on the university libraries websites.
Electronic books … some time since the consumption of e-books and e-readers is fairly widespread in the market. The libraries have also added this support in our collections, but it is not an easy road …
There are a variety of products on the content. E-book collections, e-book platforms, open access books projects (from Project Gutenberg¬†to Google Books, just to give some examples)… Sometimes you do not know¬†what’s inside of a collection, sometimes you can¬†¬ępick and choose¬Ľ the titles you want…
Then we have users who want an e-book and come to the library’s website and meet these diverse sources. A diversity that any UCD (user-centered design) method can make it more understandable…
Thus, the Open University of Catalonia, we are developing the new website of the Library, it is time to ask ourselves what to do. As a first step, we decided to do a little survey to ascertain the state of affairs.
Most universities offer access to platforms and collections that have subscribed and many of them also offer a search option specifically for e-books on their catalogs, such as the Open University¬†and¬†MIT Libraries,¬†or on their discovery tools: the¬†University of Cambridge¬†on Aquabrowser, the¬†University of Cardiff¬†on Primo and the University of Sydney¬†and Universidad Complutense de Madrid¬†on¬†Summon.
Some universities provide information fairly broad: use of devices, such as the Newcastle University¬†or the¬†UC San Diego library guide. Several universities have chosen to report on e-books through library guides, such as the EH Butler Library (Buffalo State, State University of New York) library guide.
Also highlights the Open University who has been one of the first universities to make free, interactive eBooks available on iTunes U.
Following with Responsive Web Design¬†topic, we offer you some interesting articles about the application of responsive design on mobile technology:
At the Responsive Web Design: An Ultimate Guide¬†comment:”2012 is known to be the year of smartphones. As per a recent survey the share of smartphones has reached around 50% in US…”. So, they expose advantages and disadvantages of Responsive Web Design and substitutes to Responsive Design.
In Responsive Menus: Enhancing Navigation On Mobile Websites¬†article, they claim that “mobile design isn‚Äôt just about layout and speed: it‚Äôs also about user experience. So, they focuse the article on one aspect of the user experience, navigation menus, and detail a few approaches to making them work better on mobile devices.
How To Use CSS3 Media Queries To Create a Mobile Version of Your Website¬†explains how you can create a mobile version of your site using CSS3.
Any responsive plan on September?
Currently designing and developing web means contemplate at least 5 browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari and Explorer), and with a wide range of devices (smartphones, tablets, televisions, etc..).
Given this scenario, the goal should not be playing the same layout and content across all platforms and versions, but try the best user experience for each case. This is Responsive Web Design.
Responsive web design, as defined by Ethan Marcotte, is:
“the act of creating various forms of the same basic site design that are optimized for¬†different ranges of browser window widths”.
- A flexible, grid-based layout,
- Flexible images and media
- Media queries
Currently there are several tools to work with these three elements:
- Responsive Web Design Techniques, Tools and Design Strategies
- 50 fantastic tools for responsive web design
- Responsive Web Design: 50 Examples and Best Practices
This blog, The Daily Egg, also present five interesting key elements to consider when creating a responsive web design: navigation, columns, calls to action, branding and padding and white space.
Next week we plan to attend a seminar on the topic, with Javier Usobiaga¬†(@htmlboy). He’s a web designer & front-end developer based in Barcelona, and co-founder of Swwweet.com. We hope to learn more about it!