In June, staff from LIT and ITS, traveled to Harvard’s Lamont Library to visit Harvard’s User Research Lab. Jenn Nolte, Emerging Digital Services Librarian, and Taber Lightfoot, Manager of ITS User Experience and Digital Strategy, and Sylvia Perez, UX Researcher also at ITS User Experience and Digital Strategy, made the trip together to Cambridge. They met with Amy Deschenes, the Senior UX Consultant for Harvard Library. Amy was integral in establishing the User Research Lab at Harvard.
The purpose of Yale’s UX tour was to visit a dedicated User Research Lab embedded inside a library. The Harvard Lab provides a space for usability testing, interviews, and focus groups. The Lab is divided into three rooms: one room with cubicles for individual participant studies; a conference room for focus groups; and a testing room with dedicated workstations for eye tracking, accessibility training, and moderated usability tests.
Harvard’s User Research Lab annual workload is two large UX projects, while running three-to-four smaller projects concurrently. IT Staff and Library Staff on campus are serviced by the Lab. Their Usability testing pool is pulled from student workers. The trip was very informative and instructive on how other university library’s embed user research labs.