Hacking User Experience in a Repository Service: ScholarSphere as a Case Study Public

User experience continues to be an under-explored area for repository services, even more than a decade into the production instances of many institutional repositories (IRs). Only a handful of articles, for example, are dedicated to usability, persona development, and end-user expectations in IRs. One reason for this gap is that libraries rarely have the resources, in terms of personnel, time, budgets, and tools, to commit toward user experience design and development. Another reason is the struggle that libraries have had in defining the services encompassed by IRs. Our paper proposes to help bridge this seeming chasm by reporting on efforts undertaken to develop and manage a user-driven repository service at Penn State. We will show that, even in the absence of resources, such as a user experience specialist, it is possible to “hack” user experience for a repository service, mainly by doing the following: prioritizing people and community building along with service development; leveraging such engagement by crafting use cases and user scenarios to inform the service; and being creative with the “seamless merging” of the key components of user experience, such as engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design.

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