INFO 287-10
Seminar in Information Science
Topic: Library User Experience
Spring 2021 Syllabus

Aaron Schmidt
Phone: 503.200.4200

Syllabus Links
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iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 26th, 6 am PT unless you are taking an intensive or a one-unit or two-unit class that starts on a different day. In that case, the class will open on the first day that the class meets.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

User experience (UX) characterizes how a person feels about a product, system, or service. User experience and design thinking can be applied to all aspects of libraries: from everything in your physical buildings to your library’s online presence. Librarians are the designers of the way users experience library services, resources, and programs. 
In this course, you will explore:

  • The relationship between design thinking, user experience, and innovation
  • Touchpoints found in library buildings
  • The user experience elements of a library website
  • Usability techniques and website improvements
  • UX for the future of libraries

Good design, in library buildings and online, goes much deeper than choosing colors; it requires learning about communities and meeting their needs. You'll gain a toolbox of UX techniques, including user interviews, surveys, focus groups, personas, customer journey maps, and contextual inquiries. With a sharper analytical eye and UX design skills, you'll be able to optimize, create, and innovate for current and future library users.

Course Requirements

Course Calendar
Dates subject to change

Week 1:
Introduction to class & UX

Week 2: 
Introduction to class & UX continued
— Library Website UX —

Week 3: 
Intro to library website UX

Week 4: 
Usability testing

Week 5: 
Writing for the web
Content strategy

Week 6: 
Misc library website UX methods
— Library Building UX —

Week 7: 
UX research techniques 

Week 8: 
UX research techniques continued 

Week 9: 
User interviews and personas

Week 10: 
Spring recess

Week 11: 
Graphic design for libraries

Week 12: 
UX Audit

Week 13: 
Library programs and services

Week 14: 
UX for innovation

Week 15:
Flex week and wrap-up 


  • Reflection posts - 30 points (Supports CLOs #1-8) - Due: Ongoing
  • UX analysis and comparison - 5 points (Supports CLOs #1, 2) - Due: 2 Feb
  • Website analysis - 5 points (Supports CLOs #4, 5) - Due: 9 Feb
  • Conduct a mini-usability test - 5 points (Supports CLOs #2, 4, 5, 7) - Due: 23 Feb
  • Rewriting web content- 5 points (Supports CLOs #5, 7) - Due: 23 Feb
  • Start a content audit - 5 points (Supports CLOs #5, 7) - Due: 1 Mar
  • Touchpoint & 5 Whys - 5 points (Supports CLOs #2, 6) - Due: 8 Mar
  • Persona development - 5 points (Supports CLOs #2, 6) - Due: 15 Mar
  • Do a service safari - 5 points (Supports CLOs #2, 6) - Due: 22 Mar
  • Contextual inquiry - 5 points (Supports CLOs #2, 6) - Due: 29 Mar
  • Sign redesign - 5 points (Supports CLOs #1, 7) - Due:5 May
  • New service memo - 5 points (Supports CLOs #1, 2, 7, 8) - Due: 10 May
  • Culminating synthesis - 5 points (Supports CLOs #1-8) - Due: 10 May
  • Class participation - 10 points (Supports CLOs #1-8) - Due: Ongoing

Note: There are two assignments due on 23 Feb and 10 May

Course Grading
Grading will be based on 100 possible points.

  • Most assignments are due on Sunday and must be turned in by 5 pm PT.
  • Late submissions will be reduced by 20% of the total points possible for that assignment.
  • If life circumstances require students to request an extension, please do so several days before the assignment is due or as soon as possible.
  • Communication and interaction throughout the semester via the course site is expected and required.

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

INFO 287 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain the elements of a good user experience.
  2. Describe user research techniques and a design and innovation methodology.
  3. Articulate the relationship between design thinking, user experience, and innovation.
  4. Analyze library websites with user research techniques.
  5. Evaluate a library website and identify good aspects and areas that could be improved.
  6. Describe how libraries can improve their physical touchpoints with user research techniques.
  7. Apply design thinking skills to identify opportunities for libraries.
  8. Identify nontraditional user-centered library programs or services and use them to explain opportunity for the future of libraries.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 287 supports the following core competencies:

  1. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors and how they should be considered when connecting individuals or groups with accurate, relevant and appropriate information.
  2. N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.


Required Textbooks:

  • Krug, S. (2014). Don't make me think, revisited: A common sense approach to web usability. Peachpit. Available through Amazon: 0321965515arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Merholz, P., Wilkens, T., Schauer, B., & Verba, D. (2008). Subject to change. O'Reilly Media. Available through Amazon: 0596516835arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Redish, J. (2007). Letting go of the words: Writing web content that works. Morgan Kaufmann. Available through Amazon: 0123694868arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Williams, R. (2003). The non-designer's design book. Peachpit Press. Available through Amazon: 0321193857arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation. You must repeat the class if you wish to stay in the program. If - on the second attempt - you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

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