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A Conversation with Clay Logsdon, the Drexel Libraries’ UX Research Assistant Co-op

June 24, 2024

This summer, the Libraries' Communications Team sat down with Clay Logsdon, User Experience (UX) Research Assistant Co-op, to learn more about how he’s working to support the Libraries' mission to evolve better services, address client needs, and inspire client engagement.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

A headshot of Clay Logsdon, DUL's UX Research Assistant Co-op 

Q: What drew you to this position—why did you want to work for the Drexel Libraries?

I came to learn about this position originally through a fellow student who held this position prior to me. During one of our classes together, we began discussing our previous co-op experiences and he talked about his co-op as a User Experience (UX) Researcher at the Drexel Libraries. I worked for a library right out of high school and enjoyed it. I figured that I would enjoy [working in a library] even more if I could combine it with one of my passions: UX. Fast forward to me now working in that same position and I can confidently say I was absolutely right.

Q: Briefly, could you explain what is UX research?

UX research involves a lot of different elements, from doing competitor research and literature reviews to conducting surveys, interviews, and focus groups. It also involves making infographics from those data points for stakeholders and other departments so that they can better understand the collected information and then interpret the different types of data as they pertain to website or app usage, to name a few. UX has a lot to offer, and I find it extremely exciting.

Q: Could you tell us about a project you are working on right now?

My current project (also my favorite project) is centered around recrafting the Drexel Libraries’ existing user personas. The Libraries conducted user persona research in 2015 and made a set of personas then, but a lot has changed over the last decade. We now have better methods for user research and for crafting more well-defined and useful personas.

User personas are user profiles with information on the different groups that make up an organization’s target audience, including everything from client struggles or pain points, to their wants and needs, to general demographic information.

Developing new services and rethinking already existing library services becomes an easier endeavor when you know who you're designing them for. It is mutually beneficial for library staff and for the users.

Q: Is there a link between your course work and the work you have been doing for your co-op? How do you see this co-op supporting your academic work?

There is absolutely a link between my coursework and the work I do at my co-op. This is another huge reason as to why I applied for this co-op. My academic work is over as this is my third and final co-op, but this experience has bolstered and reinforced a lot of my existing knowledge on competitor research, reviews of literature, survey making, conducting interviews, and more.

Q: What impact do you hope to have on the Drexel Libraries?

Since I'm both a Drexel employee and a current student, I'm part of my own target audience, which is quite a rare happening for a researcher to experience. It works as a strength and measure for me.

It’s a strength in the sense that I'm so close to the library services in my day-to-day student life that I know about the services and fellow classmates’ and teachers’ pain points and needs. And it’s a measure in the sense that I'll be able to experience and see if my work has benefited library clients. I hope I’ll be able to see that impact—whether that be in people having an easier time using the library website, navigating their way to in-person resources without additional help, or seeing people use some of the Libraries’ lesser-known services (such as resource guides and some more specific research databases the Libraries offers).

Q: I understand you are currently working remotely from South Asia. Do you see any connections between the UX work you’re doing for your co-op and your experiences learning a new culture and a new language?

Living in a new place for the first time has taught me the importance of understanding new perspectives, which is definitely in line with UX work. We cannot judge or make decisions using any fraction of our own opinions; but rather, we should take a step back and get into the frame of the users and try to think and feel and understand as they do. Once we can do this, it becomes easier to visualize what they need. This, alongside the insights gathered from interviews and focus groups, allows us to see as they do and then we can build solutions for them.

Additionally, in my time here I've come to learn that one solution, even for two users in a user group who appear to be similar, is not always the right solution for both. A solution for one user group, say an American user group vs. a Pakistani user group, could be wildly different. Their general information could be nearly identical but the information that isn't recorded--their mindsets, living, culture—could be different, which affects their wants and pain points too.

Their needs, however, generally remain the same. In the same way that there's basic necessities we all require, there's also core UX principles that we as UX researchers always refer back to and are led back to naturally. That's the nature of needs, if you forget, you won't forget for long as you'll be driven back to them one way or another.