Single Service Desk Implementation

Roles: UX Researcher, Solution Design Recommendations

A Sciences and Technology Library was moving to a single service desk model, an adjustment that radically changed the spatial feel of the library’s first floor as well as desk staffing procedures. Initially, I was approached by the library head and asked to determine if the new desk model was successful.

Together, discussing users and what they needed out of the library, and what the library staff needed the new desk to do, the library head and I identified the library’s primary questions as:

  1. Did the new desk change how users moved through and used the space?
  2. How were users interacting with the space and furniture available?
  3. What volume of referrals to other staff members happened prior to and post single desk implementation?

Working from the first two questions, I designed an observational study that I then implemented both prior to and post single service desk implementation. The last question I addressed by having desk staff keep anonymous questionnaire records of their own service interactions, including ranking their own confidence level felt while making referrals or answering reference questions.

Blending in to working students, I mapped entering students progress through the library as well as their usage of the spaces they stopped in. I then compiled these drawings and analyzed them, identifying distinct zones of the library and listing their most frequent uses.

This is one of eight behavioural mapping sessions recorded post service desk implementation:

These results influenced library furniture purchasing decisions as the space continued to be reshaped post single service desk, and informed library management on staff training needs as the new desk model moved forward. Observational data encouraged increasing modular furniture options and removal of the reference collection from this area, as it became clear users who wanted reference materials or individual space were often self-selecting out of the area due to the high traffic volume through the space – single-user study spaces on this floor quickly became group study spaces as students had friends or classmates enter.