User Experience

#alamw14: Do “great” tech tools exist?

Special thanks to Stefanie Buck, Instructional Design/Ecampus Librarian at Oregon State University, and Mary Soucie, State Librarian at the North Dakota State Library, for the wonderful conversation.

A seemingly simple question during the LITA Instructional Technologies Discussion Group has torpedoed into a “big issue” in my mind. The question? What are your favorite tools?

My small group took a stab at this. Our answers were mostly, “I guess I use this. It works for this.” No glowing endorsements, no magic bullets. As I have continued to think about this question (and my blank response to the question), I have a long list of tools I enjoy using in my job and talking about with faculty, but I still cannot create a list of tools I love.

We do have good tech tools; I’m not sure we have great tools. Sure, some librarians and educators are able to use them extremely well (n.b. My step-by-step directions PDFs are amazing), but the tools themselves aren’t creating loyal followers.

Rather than list every tool we have used in a useful, usable, desirable way, my group sidetracked to come up with criteria for a great tech tool.

  • It needs to integrate well. With the LMS, with the website, with the LibGuides, wherever it needs to be to provide point-of-need service.
  • It needs to be scalable. No solution truly works unless it can be used at a production level.
  • It needs to be shareable. Librarians need to learn from each other. Let’s share templates, workshop outlines, use cases, videos. We’ll be better librarians and have more time and expertise as a result.

Do you have a favorite tech tool? What would you add to the list of criteria?

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