Computer sciences student Mirva Råman was one of the Helsinki University students to co-create the new Kaisa library together with architects and designers. A service design project at its best.
Whereas conventional public services consider their users as an indefinable mass, service design acknowledges the different needs and interests of users – depending on their living situations, their personalities, their research interests and learning styles. Mirva remembers the first meeting of the Kaisa developers group:
– The atmosphere was very relaxed. Each of us got a diary and over the next two weeks we would make notes about our user study habits and our behaviour in libraries. We had to ask ourselves: What kind of place do I prefer for studying? What tools do I use? Do I only loan and return books or do I also stay in the library for other purposes? How important is the library for my social life? In addition, we were asked to keep track of everything that we liked and disliked about library services.
Lingerers, visitors, investigators and patrons
Becoming aware of one’s own behavioural patterns and needs helped the participants to formulate their wishes more specifically. Taivas, on the other hand, got deep insights into the experiences of student library users, which ultimately led to the identification of four different user profiles: Larry the Lingerer, Vera the Visitor, Irene the Investigator and Paul the Patron.
– In the next step, we all came together again to discuss these four user types, we put ourselves into the position of each user type and asked ourselves ‘What would I do, what would motivate me and what would make me feel comfortable if I was that kind of user?’, Mirva describes. She herself mostly resembles Larry the Lingerer:
– I usually spend a lot of time at Kumpula library. I like to study in peace and do for instance math and computer exercises there.”
Library dreams, library utopias
What would Mirva’s library look like? – I would make sure that books of different subjects could be easily distinguished, and there would certainly be places for chilling and a café. Ideally, my library would also have lots of light and colour, perhaps even a fountain. The walls would be covered with green vegetation.
One of the most important outcomes that occurred from the workshops and will be realised in the new library is the need for different sound zones: a social zone, a conventional study zone and a zone for absolute silence where not even clicking high heels will disturb the peace. One of the more utopian ideas occurring from the sessions was certainly the friendly robot who takes books orders, brings along the books and spares students endless searching. Who knows, perhaps in 2075, on the occasion of renovation works at Kaisa, even this idea may be put into action.
The countdown is running: In 28 days Kaisa will open its doors. By then, at the latest, service design will be more than just a concept.
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Intelligent Design – The Service Design Project in HY Library »»
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Mikko Koivisto: Designing Services with Innovative Methods »»