Monday 25 January 2016

AMA’s work with Sheffield Hallam’s Learning Centre features in new UX book

AMA design director David Jenkin has contributed to a new book about the way users experience library spaces and services. David, together with Bea Turpin, Deborah Harrop, Edward Oyston, Maurice Teasdale and John McNamara, considers what makes an informal learning space, based on work for Sheffield Hallam University.
Sheffield Hallam University Adsetts Centre. Image © AMA

AMA won a competition to help Sheffield Hallam upgrade the Adsetts Learning Centre at the heart of the campus.  As part of a three year, multi-phase project, AMA’s designs integrated exciting and engaging social learning and group study spaces into a wider mix of learning facilities. Increasing clear views across spaces and adding colour highlights further enhanced the environment. Helpdesk facilities were improved and new worksettings, including shared meeting booths and presentation rooms, were positioned in prime space liberated by relocating staff.

Commenting on the project, David Jenkin said: “Using evidence from occupation surveys and involving both students and staff in the process allowed AMA to transform the building into a totally student-focussed facility, providing a whole range of different places for study.”

Sheffield Hallam students responded very positively to the upgraded Learning Centre. In the 2013 National Student Survey, 89% of SHU’s students praised the library and its resources with one commenting: “It's a place you really want to study in - as soon as you walk in you're in the mindset to work, in a really comfortable environment.”

The editors of User Experience in Libraries point to growing interest in building a more complete picture of user experience: “Librarians are now employing ethnographic and human-centred design techniques to explore how users are interacting with library services. These methods involve us observing our users, participating in their environments and recording their choices, activities and culture in a more holistic and detailed way than ever before.”

User Experience in Libraries, subtitled Applying Ethnography and Human-Centred Design, is edited by Andy Priestner of Cambridge University and consultant Matt Borg. Incorporating contributions from librarians, anthropologists and designers from the UK and the US, the book offers guidance, analysis and case studies of user experience research and seeks to ignite interest and enthusiasm in this “emerging and game-changing field” that has the potential to make a significant impact on the way librarians currently deliver services. It will be published by Ashgate in April.