Innovation and Design

azaleas0I am a strong advocate for the importance of merging innovation and design when developing information systems, from my research on information technologies in museums to my teaching on usability and user experience design. My work in this area explores the intersection of innovation and design for the information society, and demonstrates the importance of an iterative, user-centered approach to design.

Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship
Universities around the world increasingly stress the importance of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship for 21st century research and education. It is essential that we examine different methods of encouraging technological innovation, creativity, and an entrepreneurial spirit among faculty, staff, and students across campus. To that end, I have been researching how we can encourage collaborative research and interdisciplinary education through the design, development, and use of innovative technologies, and exploring the value of making “Innovation and Technology” an essential component of the 21st Century University’s strategic plan. The goal of this work is to support the future of technological innovation by providing faculty, staff, and students with opportunities for collaborative research, experiential learning, and information entrepreneurship.

Usability and User Experience Design
As new information technologies permeate every aspect of life in the information society, it is important that we assess the usability of new technologies and ensure that they have been designed to offer an appropriate user experience. My research in this area focuses on the importance of user-centered design, and emphasizes the importance of the user’s perspective when developing information interfaces, and making the user experience an integral part of Information Technology design, development, and evaluation. I have explored the importance of user-centered design for LIS students at the graduate level [1]. My early work in this area looked at the usability of museum websites and the development of collaborative multi-user virtual environments for museums, with a focus on the development of suitable interfaces for meeting the needs of online museum visitors [2], and the use of Second Life by museums [3].

Design Thinking in the Information Schools
Faculty, staff, and students in the Information Schools have long emphasized the importance of taking an iterative, user-centered approach when designing new information systems. In my research, I am exploring the benefits of creating a culture of design thinking in the Information Schools, and the effect such a culture can have on teaching and scholarship in universities. My work in this area is demonstrating how a culture of design thinking can position universities to encourage more collaborative research with innovation technologies, for example, by developing makerspaces where designers conduct prototyping for research and study the effectiveness of those prototypes, user testing labs where researchers study the usability of new information systems and determine whether they actually meet user needs, and innovation centers where scholars use innovative technologies to assess information needs and learn how best to meet the expectations of the users of emerging technologies.