Harvard library IT has one Usability and Interface Librarian reporting to the systems development group. Over the years this position has been invaluable in assessing usability of applications, in analyzing user workflows and accessibility, and in designing effective U/I's for both public facing and staff systems.

A brief summary from the job description: The Library Technology Systems group in HUIT provides large-scale systems support to the libraries at Harvard. This involves providing public access to a wide variety of information resources located both at Harvard and elsewhere through a core set of systems and services including HOLLIS and other union catalogs, E-Research, and a growing numbers of applications for the management of digital library materials.  The primary function of this position is to provide user interface design services in the system development cycle that improve our public presentation on our web sites, in our application interfaces, and in our publications and documentation, as well as to guide  LTS system designs in the area of accessibility.

Randy Stern


Date:    Wed, 30 Oct 2013 11:24:09 -0400
From:    Andrew Darby <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Usability Person?

Hello, all.  This is perhaps a bit off-topic, but I was wondering how many
of you have a dedicated usability person as part of your development team.
Right now, we have a sort of ad hoc Usability Team, and I'd like to make a
pitch for hiring someone who will have the time and inclination to manage
this effort more effectively.

Anything you'd care to share (on-list or off-) would be welcome.  I'm
especially curious about whether or not this is a full-time responsibility
for someone in your organization or if it's shared with another job
function; if you find this position is working out well or you wish you'd
spent the money on more robots instead; where this person resides in your
org chart; what sort of qualifications you looked for when hiring; etc.



Andrew Darby
Head, Web & Emerging Technologies
University of Miami Libraries