Participatory Design for Library Websites?

As I’m gearing up for this week’s CLIR workshop, I’ve been looking around for materials related to what we’ll be working on, and I came across, “Participatory Design of Websites with Web Design Workshops,” in The Code4Lib Journal, Issue 2, March 24, 2008, by Nancy Fried Foster, Nora Dimmock, and Alison Bersani.

Once having found the above article, I did some more searching, and I found a few articles and posts related to this, but not nearly as many as I would have expected to find, given that this is not a brand-spanking-new concept. After having used participatory design locally preparatory to renovating a teaching space, I’m completely sold on the practice of having users of a space / service / technology involved in the design or redesign not just after the renovation has been done, but before it’s even undertaken, i.e., from the beginning to the end of the process.

Now my question is: how many of you readers have used participatory design in revamping your library websites? I’d be very interested to hear from those who did, as well as those who didn’t. Please write me at: if you don’t want to comment publicly here.

Many thanks, and more as it happens,



Cheryl LaGuardia About Cheryl LaGuardia

Cheryl LaGuardia always wanted to be a librarian, and has been one for more years than she's going to admit. She cracked open her first CPU to install a CD-ROM card in the mid-1980's, pioneered e-resource reviewing for Library Journal in the early 90's (picture calico bonnets and prairie schooners on the web...), won the Louis Shores / Oryx Press Award for Professional Reviewing, and has been working for truth, justice, and better electronic library resources ever since. Reach her at, where she's a Research Librarian at Harvard University.