An app and outreach system that aligns with the Seattle Public Library's mission of serving communities without direct access to technology
A personalized feed for discovering books, resources, and library events.
When a user clicks into a resource tile, they are given information about that resource and its availability. They may take actions such as bookmarking, putting it on hold, or signing up if it is an event. Tiles are color coded for quick identification.
From the resource tiles, Patrons can add resources to specific "boards" they have created.
Likewise, librarians can create profiles and add resources to curated "learning plans" they have created for individual patrons they are helping.
Librarians can print the learning plans that are generated in PDF format for patrons who cannot access mobile or web platforms. They can receive these personalized print-outs from librarians through existing library outreach programs and events.
Patrons can connect with their local librarians if they have questions through the “connect” feature in the app.
The Seattle Public Library has a myriad of resources and programs that benefit individuals and the community. However, many often do not know about these resources available or how to access them. This is especially true for those who have limited access to technology.
The mission of the SPL is to "bring people, information, and ideas together to enrich lives and build community". For this four week Interface Design project, our team wanted to design something that aligned with their mission and could be integrated into their existing framework to increase access to resources for these people.
First, we did research on what the SPL offers and how they currently work. We looked at existing programs, services, locations, demographics, resources, and the means of accessing them. We also examined their website and its information architecture to understand how the resources were organized and presented.
Contextual Inquiry at Homeless Shelter
Our team visited and spoke with counselors and individuals at a local homeless shelter to understand barriers to resources and their perception of current library services.
Interview with SPL Regional Manager
To understand the needs of patrons and librarians, we interviewed the SPL regional manager to understand their workflow and how their programs and services run. We organized the information we got from the interview into an affinity diagram.
Staying true to a core SPL value, individuals from all walks of life should be able to easily use this platform.
Individuals should be able to fulfill their own specific wants and needs in regards to the process of accessing the library's vast resources.
Resources are organized in a way that makes them easy to digest and find. Opportunities for learning are simplified by making learning new things a primary function of this platform.
Give librarians a platform to connect with patrons and share resources for those with and without access to technology.
Give patrons of the library the opportunity to easily and independently explore and collect resources on topics they are interested in.
Use case examples
Librarian + Community Member w/out digital access
A librarian does outreach in homeless camps and wants to find a way to share resources with someone who doesn't have digital access.
Parent + Child
A mom wants to find storytime classes for her kids, and cooking classes for herself.
A senior citizen who loves to take Skillshare classes and learn about new things. He would like to create learning plans for himself and know about upcoming classes and workshops.
The main challenge for us was designing an app for people who do not have access to it which seemed paradoxical at the time. However, we learned that librarians already play a huge role of being a bridge for patrons to access resources and programs. We realized that if our design helps Librarians do their jobs, it could help them help the people they serve.
How might we design a mobile service to connect people (both with and without access to technology) to personalized resources?
Style Experimentation & Task Flows
First we each individually created an initial style guide and basic user task flows so we could bring the best of our ideas together. We each had a specific user type to think about.
After we decided on some key functions of our app, we individually designed some low-mid fidelity interfaces so we could present to each other what we each envisioned for layout and style.
Based the ideas from our conversations and brainstorming sessions, I made this information architecture diagram for our app so we could all be on the same page of what functions and interfaces were necessary.
Teamwork makes the Dream work
We then met together and spent hours working together to unify our ideas and design our interfaces at the library (of course).
For our typeface we use Mercury to maintain the bookish aesthetic of the library while using Proxima Nova to keep the app's UI clean and modern. We also pulled from the navy blue SPL currently uses and turned it into a turquoise to add some personality. We used complimentary coral and yellow colors to make the brand appear more friendly and the app more engaging.
A key characteristic of our design is the tiles. Our tiles have rounded edges by 5px to appear friendly but still professional. These tiles are meant to showcase the library's resources and events and they are color coded on both the app and the PDF plans.