UGame – ULearn 2010 Symposium

I’m pretty psyched to be speaking at a number of cool places this year (if you’re really curious about my 2010 schedule, look at my presentations page – I try to keep that up-to-date with upcoming speaking gigs).

One conference I’m pretty psyched to be attending and speaking at is this year’s UGame – ULearn symposium. It will be held on April 1 in Delft, Netherlands.

OK – I admit. I’m geeked out about this one for a number of reasons here:

  1. It’s in the Netherlands! What’s not to like about that?
  2. I get to visit the DOK Library Concept Center, one of the coolest libraries ever
  3. I get to visit with some of my Dutch friends and colleagues who I usually only see online and at a couple of conferences
  4. Because this year’s UGame – ULearn symposium is all about the user experience.

Here’s more about the conference (from Jaap van de Geer):

“This year … UGame Ulearn … is all about the User Experience. Next to the use of gaming in educational programs and in libraries the theme of UGame Ulearn is always Innovation & Inspiration, with the focus on new services and products.

User Experience or UX has to do with the way customers or clients see your company, website and service. Is the experience satisfactory then they will come back, if not you may never see them again. The User Experience starts at home. Internet and the website play an important role, but also mouth to mouth and communication through communities such as Facebook and Twitter. How we can provide the best experience and which products can help us is the essence of UGame Ulearn 2010.

1st April the Auditorium of the TU Delft opens to welcome 700 librarians and educators. International speakers such as Michael Stephens, David Lee King and Gary Vaynerchuk will bring the visitors up to date under excellent supervision of our own world famous pod/vodcasting priest Father Roderick. This year we have decided to make the Exhibit Hall an important and interactive part of the conference with workshops and pitches and we make sure people have enough time in between speakers to visit the stands and listen to presentations on the latest innovations.”

So … if you’re able, come learn about the user experience with me! It should be a great symposium. If you can’t come in person, I promise to take good notes and post those … I might even post some photos and videos, too.

Here’s a video promo for the symposium:

Stickers or Cushions?

No seat or unintended consequences?Take a look at this pic – it’s at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport Denver airport. I really don’t know the why’s behind this sticker, but I can guess. And I’d guess it goes something like this:

When the moving walkway was installed, they made these little metal ledges. Maybe the ledge houses a belt, or gears … maybe it’s just for looks. Who knows?

Either way, as the airport got busier, and delays started happening more often, customers looked around for a seat and couldn’t find one. Then they eyed that handy, seat-sized ledge … and sat.

When airport staff noticed that lots of people needed seats, and were using those handy little seat-sized ledges, what did they do? Did they install more seats? An overflow room? Restaurants with more seating? Nope. They chose to put a big fat sticker on the seat-sized ledge that reads “no seat.”

So – a question. Who do you think airport administrators were thinking of when they created that sticker and stuck it to the makeshift overflow seating area? Were they thinking of their customers, who didn’t have a place to sit? Or were they thinking of their staff? I’d guess the airport’s decision had more to do with themselves than with their paying customers with tired legs.

Moral of the story? Always put your customers first. In the airport’s case – instead of a “no seat” sticker, how about putting out cushions? Work hard to always improve your customers’ experience while using your services, even with the seemingly innocuous things (like little seat-sized metal ledges).

Your customers will remember it and you will be a hero.

Update – Chuck Cannon, Director of Public Affairs at Denver International Airport pointed out that I had the wrong airport. Sorry! Just updated the post.

IL2009: Experience Design Makeover

Here’s my Tuesday morning presentation on Experience Design Makeovers for library websites. Even better – some of the presentation was livestreamed here and here!

Enjoy!

Conversation is Experience

Some web designers, especially those with a marketing or graphic design background, say they want to build an experience – but their designed experience, no matter who the website is for, tends to be designed like a movie or a rockstar’s website  – heavy on the Flash, on the intro page (complete with low-pitched ominous music), and it makes cute noises when you click on a link.

That’s great for a movie or a rockstar website. But most of us are building library, organization and company websites. What type of “experiences” should we be creating for those types of websites?

Conversation Spaces

Visitors to your website want to talk – with you, and with each other. Are you providing conversation spaces? The web is FULL of conversation now – check out Amazon, most newspaper and TV news sites, YouTube, this blog, Facebook, Twitter – all spaces where conversation can happen. And conversation DOES happen, because that’s what people do. We like to talk, we like to share, we like to voice our opinion (as I hope some of you do in the comments!).


So, my simple digital experience tip for today is this – make sure to create conversation spaces on your websites. Places like comment boxes, online forums or discussion groups around a topic, Twitter accounts for feedback, online places to Ask a Librarian, etc.

Enable Conversations

Also remember to actually enable conversations once you build the space. What’s that mean? In my library’s case, we allow unmoderated comments to fly free and easy onto our digital branch. I know what some of you are thinking – “OMG, David! Don’t you have a TON of cussing, swearing, name-calling, and other highly inappropriate things being posted? How could you EVER allow that!???!!??”

Um. No. We simply don’t have that. Yes, once in awhile we have some negative comments. But why would we moderate or not show those? Instead, we respond appropriately.

But some of you will need to moderate comments for one reason or the other (i.e., those old-fashioned city attorneys who haven’t yet discovered the joys of Facebook). If you DO moderate comments, make sure to do it quickly. Same day is good. Same hour is best. Why? Because it’s a CONVERSATION. If someone starts a conversation and you don’t get around to moderating the comment for a few days … well, you have killed the conversation. And that’s really no conversation at all.

pic by Adventures in Librarianship

Connecting the Physical to the Digital

IMG_0516Recently, while on a family vacation, I noticed something in a couple of stores … and thought I’d share.

My kids wanted to venture into the Disney Store and Build-A-Bear, and I went along for the ride. While in both stores, I saw signs that directed customers to check out the stores’ websites. But not just for kicks – look at what the signs said:

Disney: “Visit DisneyStore.com for an Additional Selection of …”

Build-A-Bear: “have fun and give back at Buildabearville.com.”

This is cool. Why? In both cases, the stores didn’t just have a sign letting customers know they have websites. Nope. Instead, they directed customers to visit the store websites for specific reasons.

By providing those reasons, they helped extend the customer experience with the store onto the web (and into our homes), after the fact. This type of after-the-purchase experience is sometimes called a “post-show” experience. The actual “show” was buying the product or visiting the store.

We can go a bit further with this, too. Look at the specific instructions we are given: Disney directs us to “an additional selection” of stuff. Think about that for a sec – they’re saying the larger, more complete store isn’t the physical store – it’s the digital store – the website.

Build-A-Bear directs us to their virtual world, where we can “have fun and give back.” OK – I don’t get the “”give back” part. But the “have fun” part I do understand! They’re giving you a specific reason to visit their website, and are suggesting it will be a fun experience. I’m guessing they get a lot of first-time traffic with those signs!

When you leave our libraryGuess what? We can do this too!

Look at this pic of a sign in my library, for instance (bigger version here). For a while, we had this large banner sign up by the exit doors – everyone walking past saw this sign. Our goal was simply to remind people that although they were leaving our physical building, their library experience didn’t have to end there. They can visit our digital branch and still do lots of stuff!

We could also direct customers to our “larger store.” Think about this for a sec – which place gives you a larger selection of library materials: browsing the shelves at the physical library … or visiting the online library catalog and putting stuff on hold?

Your larger, more complete library is NOT the physical building. It’s the website – the digital branch.

I’m guessing there are other ways to connect customers to your digital branch, as well as other reasons to do so… what are they? I’d love to hear them!