Current state of becoming a Library member

In January 2018, I began my new role as Digital User Experience Manager in the Digital Experience team at State Library Victoria. My first task was to map the current experience of joining the Library to attain free membership, both from offsite and onsite.

Short of emotional data and user pain points, I relied on my heuristic review of the artifacts and process, as well as information gathered from internal sources including:

  • conversations with key colleagues;
  • YouTube channel content;
  • Google Analytics reports.

Analysing and synthesising the data at hand, I created the following map (more a service blueprint than a journey map).

A service blueprint of joining the Library through stages of: initiate; web form; collection choice; manual processing; welcome; and membership.

Initiate

Whether onsite or offsite, people either self-directed or were staff-mediated to start their join the Library task. Some people arrived via a Register link in the masthead, others were directed to a dedicated computer at a staffed registration desk.

Web form

Users completed a web form that lacked optimisation for touch devices. It took 40 seconds longer to complete on a mobile compared to a desktop device. The HTML and server-side technologies are bespoke, giving us the freedom to design, develop, test and iterate many improvements over the following months.

Collect choice

One question on the form asked people how they’d like to receive their Library card: at the Library; or by post. The vast majority, 77%, chose to receive their card by post. Choosing by post means:

  • no need to travel to the Library;
  • no need to find your way to a registration desk in a complex building;
  • no need to interact with staff.

By post was the slower and kind of self-service method of receiving your Library card. This option also had the greatest impact on manual processing efforts.

Manual processing

At the Library

Only 23% chose to present identification to staff at the registration desk in order to receive their Library card. Staff would retrieve a plastic card from stock, make record adjustments in a computer system, then issue the card.

By post

After removing spam registrations, and resolving incomplete or incorrect addresses, staff would:

  1. Retrieve a plastic card;
  2. Make record adjustments in a computer system;
  3. Match the card with the corresponding named and addressed envelope;
  4. Pack in a welcome letter.

Then a batch were taken to dispatch where, on business days, Australia Post would commence delivery.

Welcome

Members who chose by post received their card and a generic welcome letter. No longer was the letter personalised. It wasn’t even customised: members residing outside Victoria got the same messages about accessing e-resources – a privilege non-Victorians are ineligible for!

Membership begins

Once people found their way to the registration desk, joining onsite only took a few minutes. For Victorians to receive their card in the post, it took between 2 to 6 days, then they could begin accessing member benefits.

End note

This blueprint indicates focus areas for a project that was initiated 5 months later, in June 2018. I lead this project which would bring about:

  • faster delivery of member benefits;
  • automation of manual processes.

In future posts I’ll describe pertinent aspects of the project. With over 20,000 registrations per year, this simple transaction fits neatly into what Gerry McGovern calls a sweet spot for digital self-service.

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