Category Archives: About us

Meet Kristin Sullivan- the new UX GRA

Hi all! I’m Kristin Sullivan, the new User Experience GRA with TIS. I recently wrapped up my first year in the Information Studies Master’s program at the UT iSchool. Prior to joining TIS, you could find me working as a teaching assistant (or Purple Shirt) in the iSchool’s IT Lab.

A bit about me: I majored in history and environmental sciences at the University of Vermont In Burlington. Following completion of my undergrad degree, I started to gradually move southward. I worked in a bookstore in NJ and then moved on to work with the Free Library of Philadelphia in their digital resources department. With the Free Library, I managed a computer hotspot that provided resource access and digital literacy training to community members. After almost a year of working with the Free Library, I decided to apply for graduate programs in information science and ended up enrolling in the UT iSchool.

I found my way into the world of UX through the iSchool. Initially interested in building upon my knowledge of web development, I enrolled in the more user experience focused courses offered through the program, such as information architecture and usability. I also used my time as a lab teaching assistant to increase my own technical skills in these areas and to teach others how to use design software programs through one-on-one instruction, tutorials and short courses. Currently, I’m trying to soak up all the UX knowledge that I can and apply user-oriented design to the projects that I work on.

I’m excited to join TIS this summer and work on UX for a library site. I am currently helping to wrap up work on the Geology branch site and implement the guidelines that the very talented, previous GRA, Stefanie Roberts established. Through this position, I am excited to get more hands-on design and user-testing experience. I also would like to build upon my previous teaching experience to create UX-oriented tutorials for TIS and contribute to the TISandboxes.

When I’m not around TIS, I will be working 10 hrs in the IT lab (at least for this summer), taking a summer class at the iSchool, and co-directing the student groups UT Association for Information Science & Technology and Advocating for Women in Technology. As for outside of the UT scope, I like to go on social bike rides and try to do the fun things in Austin.

Introducing TISandbox

This fall, TIS started a new thing we’re calling TISandbox. Every Friday afternoon, anyone who has the time and inclination meets in our conference room and explores a technology topic that we don’t have an opportunity to explore in the normal course of our work. Sometimes the topic is familiar to someone in the group & they lead the session, but sometimes we all explore an unknown area together. In the spring, we plan to invite the Libraries staff to join us occasionally, so keep an eye out for an invitation. So far, we’ve had seven Sandboxes. Here is a list of them, along with links to some of the resources we used/explored/identified for a couple of the sessions. The lists were intended as jumping-off points, so we may not have actually explored every link during the actual session. Additionally, they aren’t comprehensive, and they shouldn’t be taken as endorsements of any kind, but we thought we’d go ahead and share anyway. October 17: Open Refine October 24: Open Street Map November 7: crowdmap.com November 14: software versioning

November 21: exploring the Geology ETD data set with Open Refine December 5: text analysis tools December 12: wireframing tools

Meet Stefanie, the new TIS GRA

Salutations! I’m Stefanie Roberts, a first-year UT iSchool master’s student and the new TIS User Experience GRA.

I majored in English at the University of Florida and dabbled in nonprofits, media, education, and healthcare before finding my way to UX. I didn’t even know the field existed until I stumbled upon it while researching library graduate programs. The common threads I found woven through my experiences in other fields—working with people, producing creative deliverables, and designing new systems to improve workflows and outcomes—are also at the heart of UX research and design. I feel fortunate to have wound up here working on UX for a library, the dream combination for many an MSIS student.

This semester, I’ll be collaborating with TIS staff and the Library Web Oversight Group on implementing best practices to redesign and create optimal experiences for UT Libraries website users. Since joining TIS in September, I’ve been generating IA and migrating content for the new Geology branch page. I already can’t remember life before Drupal. I’m especially looking forward to learning more about content strategy, responsive design, and accessibility.

When I’m not at the library, you can find me doing schoolwork, co-directing the Student Association for the School of Information and UT’s student chapter of the Association for Information Science and Technology, biking and running (for fitness and/or to Juiceland), or exploring the cultural goings-on in and around Austin.