From the desk of our design intern…
Jumping into the real world is going to be no easy task however, spending the summer at iFactory as a design intern has provided me with the necessary skills to make for a smoother transition. Although I was quite nervous to begin a summer in the corporate world, my nerves were immediately calmed when I was welcomed into the office and greeted by many people who would be contributing to my learning endeavors over the course of the summer months.
After I was shown around and given the necessary software I was immediately given a task. This was my opportunity to prove myself to be a valuable asset to the iFactory design team. I was pleased with the amount of preparation I had received from Framingham State University where I am entering my senior year. Being my first internship, I could relate my design knowledge to real life situations for the first time.
My first week at iFactory has been nothing less than great, in part due all of the amazing people working here that have made me feel comfortable, and at ease. When I first arrived I was incredibly nervous. This was my first internship and I was afraid that I would ask a lot of questions, not know what to do, or just be a plain nuisance however, this hasn’t been the case—all of my tasks have been clearly outlined and if I have any questions my co-workers are willing to take the time to answer them.
Originally I was also a bit nervous about the corporate culture and how things operated. I am currently a rising senior at Bentley University and when I was offered the position, my school prepared me for formal suits and a generally rigid work environment. To my surprise the dress-code was semi-formal with a flexible, friendly and productive work environment. What’s even better is that a good number of iFactory’s employees take the same lunch break—everyone is eating and talking with one another which creates a great environment in which everyone is happy to come into work.
I can honestly say that I’m glad to be working for iFactory and I’m excited to see where this internship takes me. In the short time that I have been here I have conducted social media research, data-mined, and worked with programs such as Urchin for analysis. Even though I’ve only been here a week I’ve done and learned so much and I’m excited to do even more!
As part of our normal Discovery process, I was tasked with piecing together user scenarios for a client. However, this particular client had heavily invested in researching their current users to understand their needs. They presented to us many pages of insight and analysis into the inner workings of their content consumers. Along with those reports, was detailed documentation of their business objectives around each user group. There was so much rich data presented to us before we conducted our own stakeholder interviews, that I couldn’t pass on an opportunity to rethink what we typically put together for user scenarios.
The user scenarios I generally create were only useful when it came to usability testing – and only if we did either automated or task-based testing. They tended to only list out the top 8-10 tasks that mattered to the user with very little insight into who the user was. Therefore, if we let the user’s work practice drive the interview, the scenarios held very little value past ensuring the top tasks were supported. The scenarios didn’t help us gauge if we met the business objectives or set meaningful KPIs.
However, if I did try to include more of a “story” around a persona or a task, I encountered another problem – the scenarios became hard to scan. There were no “quick” facts you could absorb in a single glance nor could you easily walk away with an understanding of who this person was without investing a lot of time into reading the page.
The Society for Scholarly Publishing annual meeting is rapidly approaching. As in the past, the conference promises to offer a view of the current trends in academic publishing. This year’s conference theme is asking: “Social, Mobile, Agile, Global: Are You Ready?”
On the front lines of new product development, each of these trends is impacting our thinking – and the technology we build – from integration with social media, to mobile platforms, to agile production models, to global delivery. We are eager to join the conversation with publishers, librarians, and other technology partners to further explore solutions that meet the needs of publishers and their user communities. In particular, the iFactory team is very interested in the presentations on discoverability, the new COUNTER 4 standards, and the sequel to the Chat with Librarians.
iFactory will be participating in the Thursday round table lunch discussions by facilitating a conversation on mobile publishing. We have been conducting contextual user interviews for new mobile templates as well as online surveys and have some clear directions for mobile work that we are eager to discuss with other interested attendees.
Hope to see you there….
iFactory will be exhibiting at booth #208 and showcasing PubFactory’s journals support capabilities.