How to improve everything with usability testing

I gave a presentation with two colleagues at the Illinois Library Association’s annual conference this week on applying usability testng and UX concepts to improve just about anything, maybe even everything in a library.

We talked a little theory, provided examples, and devoted the second half of the presentation to an interactive workshop component. I am always looking for ways to have people leave my presentations with a sense that they can do something when they leave.

We provided two handouts for everyone and that guided their interactions: a checklist and a form. The participants returned with some interesting ideas. One librarian in particular seemed energized to test out furniture options in a newly available space, which was exciting to see.

As I developed my portion of the presentation, I realized more and more that the central message that I wanted to impart was “get out of your meeting rooms and into your libraries.” It’s astonishing how simple the maxim is and yet how hard it is to do.