UX – What’s all the excitement about?

Here in the Library we’re quite excited. Obviously we’re always excited at the start of the new academic year but this year is extra special.

During the 2016/17 academic year the Library will be undertaking a User Experience (UX) Study to discover how and why you use Library spaces and services. The work will include studies of physical spaces and usability testing of the Library online offer. We will use ethnographic and anthropological techniques to gather in-depth data from our users, building on similar studies that have taken place at other universities including York, Cambridge and Manchester.

In the Hartley Library turnstile gate counts and loan information tell us a lot about times at which the Library is busiest and what items you borrow. Page hits tell us where you’ve been on the Library website and what pages get the most use. This raw, quantitative data doesn’t tell us anything about how you find the experience, though. The way it fits into your life at University, what you love about it and the things which are just plain annoying. These are the things that a UX study can help us to discover.


Armed with this richer data, we hope to shape future Library developments to meet your needs more effectively, to develop new services and to design spaces to improve your learning, research and study.

UX work is impossible without the contribution of YOU, our users.  We are looking for volunteers to participate in the different elements of the study over the next few months. The Library has developed ideas for this work in full agreement with the Union Southampton, your VP Education, Elliot Grater says:  “I think this is a fantastic project and a great way to get student consultation and tailor developments to what students are asking for!”

You can find out more, and get in touch, by visiting the Library UX webpage where there are details of each study and the involvement we’re asking from you.

Jenny Foster,
Client Services and Support Manager,
University of Southampton Library.

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