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Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Weave (sometimes referred to as WeaveUX and Weave UX) is a relatively new open access journal. Although it’s published for library user experience professionals by library user experience professionals, its reach is much longer than that – this is a journal that will probably interest anyone working in libraries. And the material in it will be very useful to anyone interested in, and committed to, designing user-centered services and spaces for any enterprise.
The editors seek two kinds of articles: full length, scholarly articles of relevance to UX in libraries, and Dialog Box pieces, described as “a new kind of review section… [that] aims to extend beyond the traditional book review section and feature critical dialog not only with books but with other media that set the boundaries of library UX. The editors of WeaveUX are open to Dialogs features taking different forms, but encourage a crystal-clear connection between the proposed topic and its relation to library user experience.” To encourage different kinds of material being offered, the editors extend the invitation to “Submit pitches to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
These folks are firmly committed to Open Access, as well. They state at the site, “Unless otherwise noted, all content in Weave UX is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY) in order to allow for the greatest possible dissemination of our authors’ work. If this license would prevent you from publishing in Weave, then please contact us at: email@example.com.” They’re consistent in their stance on copyright too, noting: “Our authors always retain copyright to their work, and we never charge our authors to publish in Weave UX.”
What’s especially appealing about this publication is the sorts of articles the editors give as examples of appropriate submissions. These include:
>> “Discussions of UX research methods (ethnographic study, usability testing, eyetracking, datamining, etc.) and when, where, and how it’s best to use them (or when, where, and how it isn’t!).
>> Monitoring and measuring the impact of UX work.
>> Case studies of UX techniques in the field, especially where those studies link the specific case to overarching issues in UX research.
>> Pontification on the future of UX: where are we going? Where should we be looking? How should we be thinking about UX?
>> Library assessment and how it relates to UX techniques, principles, and research.
Arguments for and against general UX principles and theory: what do they look like? When and where do they apply?
>> Discussions of how UX research and practice in other fields should or should not impact the practice of UX in libraries.
>> Critique and discussion on the role of UX in libraries, including trends in hiring and creating UX positions and how UX positions and the work they do are seen by others.
>> Methods for developing and executing content strategies, on the web or elsewhere.”
As you can see, they’re keeping a critical eye on what UX is and what it might become, and invite critique and discussions that range over many areas and points of view. That’s refreshing and encouraging for a professional journal.
At the time of this review only two issues of Weave have been published, but they both offer substantial and thought-provoking material. Volume 1, issue 1, holds several excellent articles: “Improving Library User Experience with A/B Testing: Principles and Process,” by Scott W. H. Young, “Improving the Library Homepage through User Research -- Without a Total Redesign,” by Amy Deschenes, “Grassroots UXD in the Library: A Review Essay,” by Monica Rettig, “Launching a Native App: Lessons Learned in Academic Libraries,” by April Siqueiros and Samantha Raddatz; a Dialog Box Interview with Courtney Greene McDonald done by Amy Barlow (which includes a WeaveUX exclusive outtake from McDonald’s book, Putting the User First); and a WeaveUX Tweetposium from May 2, 2014 in which “Curious fool and WeaveUX Dialog Box editor Pete Coco (@pfcoco), ably assisted by Wheaton College Content Strategy Assistant Julie Bogen ‘14 (@jabogen-now of @refinery29) took to Twitter …with the intention of stirring the library UX pot. Three questions emerged: What are the historical roots of human-computer interaction and its overlap and/or divergence from library science and/or librarian professional identity as it relates to “users” and “user-centered” service? Related to the above or not, what are the challenges specific to library user experience? Finally, what are some easy improvements to user experience that any library can make?” The Twitterers note that they “got some great responses and the beginning to some very interesting answers,” and while they were at it, coined the term Tweetposium.
Issue 2 holds the peer-reviewed article, “Service Design: An Introduction to a Holistic Assessment Methodology of Library Services,” by Joe Marquez and Annie Downey, both from Reed College, along with the Dialog Box piece, “An Internet of Pings: Enhancing the Web User Experience of Physically Present Patrons with Bluetooth Beacons,” and “The UX Moment: A Weave Digital Panel, Part One,” in which Weave “reached out to a number of librarians who are doing user experience work with the hope of instigating and documenting the conversation they might have with one another.” The librarians engaged in the two-day e-mail conversation were in a variety of professional settings, including academic and public libraries as well as library and information science degree programs, and the resulting discussion was rich enough to publish in two parts, with the second coming in Issue 3.
If you take a look at the Editors, Editorial Board, and Editorial Philosophy of Weave you know this is a solid title done by experts in the field. You’ll also quickly get the sense that in addition to being extremely informative, this is one professional journal you’ll actually enjoy reading. I know I did, and will follow it avidly as it continues. Can’t imagine a librarian anywhere who won’t get something good out of Weave.