Posted in Teaching and Learning

Design in perpetual motion: a virtual learning space that will never stop changing

User experience

Today we started the exciting process of re-imagining our library services website. This website was first designed in 2010 and launched in 2011. It is three years down the track and we know that change is necessary. I have decided to blog our story as it unfolds so that we can document and reflect on our processes, and invite input from others.

As a first step in the process, a meeting was held with the website designers because we wanted them involved from the very beginning. We set the following goals for the meeting:

  • Discuss how preliminary investigations into the website use (including a survey of the college community + observations + anecdotal evidence + university research) = a need to revisit the design of the site and consider future directions
  • Construct a plan for this change process
  • Investigate how the website design company can partner with us in the design process – what new developments have they worked on with other websites and/or ideas do they have

Essentially, we want two key outcomes to emerge from this new design project. Firstly, we want an end product that improves the user experience. Secondly, we want a design process that is open and flexible; in order to unearth possibilities we may not have even thought of yet. This was advocated in a recent university subject, Designing Spaces for Learning, which stated that a design brief should have an element of incompleteness to reflect a genuine understanding that “we don’t know what we don’t know” (McIntosh, 2014, para.1).

As the meeting progressed, some of the topics we discussed included:

Future design considerations:

  • Designing spaces for the end user must be student & teacher centred & include the user in the design process – not “us on behalf of them” but “us with them”
  • Broad collaboration = broad sense of ownership
  • Design for interacting
  • A framework for feedback & evaluation be built into the design

Some of our initial purposes of the website still stand, such as:

  • Providing information services in a digital format – virtual space as important as physical
  • Preparing students for future study that requires digital access and participation
  • Modelling digital citizenship
  • Providing connections to resources, push technologies & experts

Good practice points to continue from our first design process:

  • Pedagogically driven change
  • Consciously adopt a beginner’s mindset
  • Learning from others
  • Reflect institutional values

It was a great meeting with many ideas flowing and imagining the possibilities for the future of the site is very exciting. Our next step is to hold a team meeting at school and do some strategic planning for the process we wish to follow. As we move forward, I am trying to keep in mind another precept learned in Designing Spaces for Learning, that it is important to accept constraints will be part of the design and to seek a peaceful coexistence of desirability, feasibility and viability (Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Hornsby, 2012).

We welcome comments, suggestions and input from anyone interested in this project.

References

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson. https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/kuratko-d1.pdf

McIntosh, E. 2014). INF536 Designing spaces for learning: Designing for the unknown Module 2.2. [Lecture Notes]. Retrieved October 11, 2014, from http://digital.csu.edu.au/inf536/module-2-space-as-change-agent/2-3-designing-for-the-unknown/

Image Attribution

Australian Library and Information Association via Twitter

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Author:

As the Curriculum Leader of the Mt Alvernia iCentre, my key areas of interest are: Teaching and Learning The information landscape Digital Literacy Digital citizenship Literature Reading

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