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Workshop – User Interfaces for Physical Spaces

I’m very excited to announce a workshop that I’m helping put together in my role with the Information Architecture Institute.

It’s called User Interfaces for Physical Spaces, and it’s a one-day case study of some fascinating work that MAYA Design did to improve the visitor’s experience of the Carnegie Libraries in Pittsburgh.

It takes place Monday, December 12.

By bridging information architecture across the physical and virtual worlds, MAYA got to work on something of a Holy Grail type project.

Aradhana Goel spoke about this project at Adaptive Path’s User Experience Week last August, and while the PowerPoint was pretty neat, I knew I had to make this a field trip. Because the only thing better than seeing the annotated photographs explaining the problems of the library experience is going to those libraries and experiencing it for ourselves.

Open Or Closed
Annotated photograph from presentation

So we’re going to start the day by seeing an unrenovated library (which demonstrates the “before” state). And then we’re going to MAYA’s offices to see how they analyzed and synthesized their research, and then drafted solutions.

Breakpoints Large
Enlarge image

This illustration demonstrates MAYA’s understanding of the three primary factors of the library experience — the physical space, the information space (categorizations), and the people who work there. They identified breakpoints when interacting with each of these spaces, and this diagram depicts how to manage those breakpoints by hopping tracks from one factor to another.

At the end of the day, we’re going back out to see some of the renovated libraries (demonstrating the “after”). This is stuff you simply cannot get from reading it.

Ask A Librarian
Enlarge image

The above image illustrates the old way on the left — messy “reference desk.” The new way on the right is much more approachable, both in terms of signage and language – “ask a librarian”. And a small example of something really nifty is that “ask a librarian” is used on the Carnegie web site to mean exactly the same thing.

Registration is only $250 ($200 if your an IA Institute member).

Read more about and register for “User Interfaces for Physical Spaces”.

  1. As a former reference librarian, I’m often annoyed at how un-user-friendly libraries are. My experience with libraries is, I suspect, true of many organizations: most of the libraries that I worked in were designed for the staff first of all — and I don’t just mean layout but hours and policies as well. And I don’t think libraries are unique — I wonder how many other organizations that’s true of?

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