I finally get to share something with you all that I’ve been working on since I started in my current positions: Adventures in Access!
Adventures in Access! is an interactive tutorial designed for the use of employees at my library. Its purpose is to provide a realistic simulation of a patron who has contacted us over IM chat reference because they are having trouble accessing an electronic resource. Library staff can use the tutorial to improve their e-resource troubleshooting skills and be better prepared for real-life troubleshooting situations.
Designing new instructional content is something I love about my job and getting to plunge into the world of interactive tutorials was quite an educational experience (pun intended, y’all). Most of the design work was done by three wonderful librarians who used to work in my unit: Mark Wardecker (now at Colby), and Kate Lambaria and Heidi Johnson (both now at UNLV). They created the game using Twine, which is an open-source tool for creating interactive stories. I helped create the web presence for the game and ran the user testing with many of our current graduate assistants and staff members. We were able to fine-tune the game into what we hope will serve as an effective learning tool that will help those new to IM chat reference become more confident in their ability to troubleshoot access issues (which is a situation that happens frequently, starting your first week on the desk).
We have a publication arrangement that is pending (which I will hopefully get to share with you all soon) and we’ve received incredibly positive feedback throughout the user testing phase and the initial rollout. One of my favorite parts of development was the user testing – it was great to get feedback from actual potential users about everything from the flow and structure of the game to thoughts on implementation and future developments. Our testers had great ideas for how to improve the game and develop it in new directions as new needs arise. Hopefully I can do more projects that involve UX in the future…
So if you’d like to give the game a spin, feel free to do so! If you’re a librarian and you’re interested in the specifics of how we developed the game or you have questions about using Twine for a project at your library please feel free to contact me!