User Centered Design

In this interactive institute, participants learn about a design process for managing digital projects within a library context and learn about usability theory and methodology.

Using examples, lecture, and exercises we will discuss staff skills and responsibilities, artifacts of the design process (items that staff create during the design process), and communication channels. Web technologies and standards are included as a framework for the design process. Some usability content is included. Activities and discussion topics include:

  • Overview of user centered design
  • Content groups and project management
  • Identify key tasks and issues
  • Site organization and page design process
  • Style guides
  • Usability tests and results
  • Web technologies and standards

The Institute also focuses on usability theory and methodology within a library context and provides practice with usability technique and methods, information on additional types of test methods, and reviews administrative issues. Activities and discussion topics include:

  • Practice several types of tests
  • Construct test instruments
  • How to manage test results
  • Equipment
  • Role of the test moderator
  • Human subjects testing
  • Recruitment


This program is for any library staff member involved in the library’s website, including website designers, usability practitioners, and web page editors.


Brenda Reeb is the coordinator of the usability program at the River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester. She received her MLS from Simmons College. She has designed and conducted usability tests since 2001 on several digital library projects, and she guides a team of seven library staff members who conduct usability testing. Brenda is a frequent presenter on usability and user centered design topics at LITA, ALA, Charleston Conference, and several northeastern regional library conferences. With Eric Lease-Morgan she is co-listowner of USABILITY4LIB, a forum for usability work in a library environment. In addition to her usability work, she is the Director of the Management Library, and has oversight of the Government Documents and Microtext unit in the River Campus Libraries.