Realizing a better user experience
Early in 2018, Infor started the LibDo initiative, to create a space that encourages and stimulates new ideas, with input from both customers and staff, and based on that input, to actually develop those ideas.
LibDo had multiple components:
- consultation of customers / product users
- internal meetings
- actually realizing the new ideas
LibDo has (primarily in V-smart) lead to the development of generic solutions for filters, facets and macros, a new interface, a link to telephony and chat, and many others.
We believe that the future will show more and more alignment. Two obvious examples of expected streamlining: the convergence of website and smartphone app and that of physical and digital materials.
We modestly call the V-smart user interface (UX) a “smart” interface, mainly because of these reasons:
- all applications run in a browser
- as a consequence of that, all application logic resides on the server; there is no client-side logic (preferences and defaults are stored on the server, often per user)
- simple keyboard shortcuts (e.g. “P” is “print”, “F” is move forward, “B” is move backward)
- no obligation to use the mouse
- direct links to Excel, Word, email, …
- for bibliographic and authority metadata editing, V-smart uses a full-text record editor (offering features such as cut, copy & paste, undo, and similar features)
- “Save as default”: V-smart has the ability to save responses per page (per input screen and per form) and re-use these as input for the next time the page (per input screen and per form) is displayed; these settings are saved per user and can significantly speed up repetitive work.
All this makes V-smart a RIA (Rich Internet Application) and leads to a better and more powerful UX (user experience).
The LibDo initiative
The LibDo initiative was an open discussion about the future of our products, which has led to new features in some of the products (primarily V-smart and V-insight). The focus is more on interface, UX, look & feel, ergonomics than functionality.
We introduced LibDo to “counter” the year-long focus on functionality. Over the years we had concentrated our development efforts on rich functionality with less focus on ergonomics. LibDo was aimed at correcting this.
LibDo results include (in more or less random order) [most of these refer to V-smart only]:
- a new logon page, common to all applications (SSO – Single Sign On)
- a new home page, also showing widgets from V-insight
- a new look & feel: with new features such as a "burger" (for textual access), “lighter” icons, new colours, images on menus, ...
- on all pages: the "ribbon" (which gives direct access to related activities, other users that are active on the application, macros, and various links)
- in data "in the top pane": more links and descriptive MouseOver pop-ups
- for lists: a whole range of new features such as filters, facets, drag & drop, jump, change column order
- on forms: an autocomplete feature
- generic search: searching with a single search term in multiple resources (customers, collections, suppliers, activities and more)
- local texts: the ability to “override” system-defined texts with a local version
- macros: personalized or shared keystroke chains that can be “replayed” (a simple example: you store in a macro a search on “Harry Potter” – if you then “play” that macro, the application will search for “Harry Potter” as if it was typed); macro options include, “record”, “stop recording” and “play”, also “play all macros” (auto-play); these macros will bring great power, swiftness and ease-of-use (they will provide shortcuts, automate repeatability and reduce complexity); eventually, the macros may play an important role in testing and localization of user documentation, and could be an obvious place to implement voice-to-text conversion.
The first set of the LibDo enhancements was made available to customers in V-smart 5 Service Pack 3 (at the end of 2019).
The second batch of LibDo enhancements will be included in V-smart version 6.
All good things come to an end
The LibDo initiative ended approximately three years after its start in early 2018. Due to its nature, LibDo could not become too regular, too structured, too procedural. In addition to the application achievements of LibDo, this initiative demonstrates the openness and commitment of Infor to our customers and also served to solidify our partnerships. Having served its purpose, usability is now at the forefront of Infor Library & Information Solutions’ thinking, similar to the increased focus on responsiveness, accessibility and mobility.
- Library and Information Systems