8-bit visualization of library hours shown in a calendar

The University of Arizona Libraries offers five campus libraries, each with different hours of operation. Some locations are only open to certain users outside of normal hours, and the hours may be different during certain times of the year. The Hours project was set to build a usable hub that replaces the legacy hours page.

Motivations

The legacy library hours page
The legacy library hours page

Through preliminary user research, feedback from students, faculty, staff and community members pointed us toward the following issues:

  • The interface looked outdated and lacked responsiveness. The quirkiness of the mobile interface added a barrier to the experience of checking the hours on the go.

  • Some of the hours were inaccurate or misleading. An example is the confusing Sunday hours: CatCard (the university’s campus card) holders can access the Main Library any time from 9am on Sunday until 1am on the following Saturday. However, while the library doesn’t open until 9am on Sunday, the hours of that day had 24 hours in it. Similarly confusing language also showed up whenever there was an exception to the regular hours.

  • Need to clearly show the hours for different user groups. Due to the library‘s complicated hours of operation and unique access management at each location, Stakeholders from the library’s Access & Information Services hope to see an interface that delivers the message in an intuitive way.

Prototyping

Me after leading a collaborative prototyping session
Me after leading a collaborative prototyping session

With 3 user stories determined in the planning face, I led collaborative prototyping sessions where team members gathered around a table to sketch a prototype in their mind on a piece of paper. The prototypes were annotated, grouped and merged for UI prototyping.

We created the design as well as a component library that follows Atomic Design process using Figma. This helped cultivate a joyful design handoff experience as it brought more flexibility when the team addressed UI changes.

Validating

Tiny Café barista of the day: Rebecca
Tiny Café barista of the day: Rebecca

We used Tiny Café as our main method of conducting usability testing and getting feedback early and often (from real people we could talk to). At this pop-up fixture that we set up weekly, snacks and beverages were offered to anyone who stops by and is willing to spare a few minutes to complete our task scenarios.

The task scenarios were carefully written to probe the corresponding research questions. We made sure they were always bite-sized, so that they wouldn’t take too much time to complete. In order to measure success rates, an expected outcome was assigned to each task scenario and was compared with the test participant’s conclusion. We also recorded and/or jotted down the specific steps the participant took, along with their answers to follow-up questions.

Results

Weekly hours
Weekly hours
Monthly hours
Monthly hours
Homepage widget
Homepage widget

My roles

I participated in the preliminary user research and led during the prototyping and validation process.