Year: 2013 | Type: Competition | Location: Champaign, IL | Team: Brittany MCLEAN, Chad RASH and Lauren SUTHERLAND
The UIUC Undergraduate Library challenged us to develop a model for a smartphone application to improve student experience with Library collections, services and facilities. Focus was to be given to location-specific or off-site student needs.
Research took place in two stages: passive observation of on- site (library) locations and off-site locations such as the local coffee shop, the Illini Union and two classroom and lecture facilities; and the conducting of a series of focus groups consisting of students from across campus. Our research suggested that the majority of students utilize library facilities less for checking out books for research and more for individual or group studying. In addition, we found that many students were unaware of several existing library resources and smartphone applications. Our focus groups made us aware of four key issues: finding available study spaces, locating group members, current library environment and traveling for unavailable technological resources.
As a response to our research, we decided to develop an application catered towards the needs of students utilizing library facilities for individual or group studying. The app addresses the four issues raised in our focus groups, as well as the need for awareness of library resources and other smartphone applications.