New UX and Web Content Strategy Coordinator at UH Libraries

Daniel Pshock is the new user experience and web content strategy coordinator at UH Libraries.

Daniel Pshock is the new user experience and web content strategy coordinator at UH Libraries.

The University of Houston Libraries welcomes Daniel Pshock, the new user experience and web content strategy coordinator in Web Services.

Please describe your role at UH Libraries and talk about some of your professional goals and/or research areas.

I balance my time between user research, experience design, and content strategy. Working in the Web Services department, this means conducting research on user expectations and needs for the library’s website and web systems, as well as running assessments to evaluate how well our website meets those needs. My goals include making library interactions more enjoyable overall by designing web systems that are accessible, easy-to-use, and attractive. The library’s digital space is essentially its largest branch location — my ultimate goal is making it a location people want to visit.

Please share a bit about your background and interests. How do these inspire and shape your approach as a librarian?

My background is in human-computer interaction (HCI) and user experience (UX) design — I have a bachelor’s and master’s in information science both with an HCI focus from the School of Information & Library Science at UNC-Chapel Hill. I got interested in UX in undergrad and took all the courses on it that I could fit into my schedule and had a few UX roles as a student. It wasn’t until I was already in graduate school that I considered applying my skills to the library world. There are real design issues in libraries today, particularly in library search experience and in creating a “guiding hand” as users traverse large collections, and these sorts of challenges led to my interest in librarianship. My professional ethos of user advocacy, meaning putting user needs first, is behind my entire approach as a librarian. Luckily, librarians all over the world have been user advocates for centuries, whether they know it or not, so I’m easily among like minds at UH Libraries.

Please describe your first impressions of the University of Houston.

UH is slightly larger than my alma mater, so I was first struck by the size of the campus and the student body. The diversity of the UH community (and of Houston in general) was also something I was never aware of until I first traveled here and got familiar with the area. There are no cities of Houston’s caliber in my home state of North Carolina either, so there are really no university systems analogous to the UH system. It’s been very interesting seeing how UH operates in that regard and learning where it fits into higher education in Texas in general.

Please discuss the role that UX plays in student success.

For most UX designers, there are a handful of metrics used to measure performance: sales, sign-ups, conversions, etc. Working for a library that serves a large academic community means student success, and indeed the research success of anybody on our campus, is the most important metric for the work I do. Providing a strong user experience means ensuring everything about a system is designed to allow users to complete tasks and reach their goals — everything from the layout of user interfaces to the words you read on a screen or a sign. All of these factors in the library contribute to the success of students in their work and studies, and its how I measure the quality of the designs or strategies I produce.

What is your favorite book/movie/cuisine/hobby?

Book: A Death in the Family by James Agee
Movie: 101 Dalmatians
Cuisine: Anything with peanut butter
Hobby: Drawing and painting

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Posted on July 18th, 2016 by Esmeralda Fisher and filed under Announcements | Comments Off on New UX and Web Content Strategy Coordinator at UH Libraries