The New Bookshare – The Inside
Bookshare student member Alex Clark.
By Betsy Burgess
Here’s a question, "What recent project took Benetech more
than a year of effort and more than 20 content specialists?" The
answer, "Redesigning, rebuilding, and testing the new Bookshare
library!" The project began in late 2007 with a wide-open opportunity.
Benetech CEO Jim Fruchterman challenged our team to rethink the design
of Bookshare.org. He asked us to create a new site that would offer
better-organized information, establish best practices for accessibility,
and simplify processes so that no action required more than a few clicks.
With these requirements in mind, the team got to work on designing a
new interface. A lot of thought went into selecting the new logo, the
colors, the layout, the location of each menu item, and the placement
of buttons. After multiple iterations, the team agreed on the design
you now recognize and use.
Next, the team tackled each library process and designed new workflows. To visualize proposed changes, an interface expert mocked up draft screen shots of potential changes. Each new design led to much discussion until at last, the team settled on the best approach to each process. Each process was carefully reviewed – from the new Quick Search, to book download table and list views, sign up for individuals and organizations, and volunteer processes. Even the underlying database that tracks books and membership was redesigned to accommodate the rapid growth and anticipate the future size of the collection and membership.
From these high level designs, the engineers began to write the code, line by line. Other teams inside and outside our company tested the new processes to be sure the processes worked and were accessible. Some of you assisted with the external testing; your feedback was invaluable! Writers and content experts began documenting all the processes, questions and content.
Finally, the Bookshare team agreed that the site was ready to launch, eager to let you, our Members, enjoy the new accessibility features, easy book downloading, the new reading tools, new account management options, and many other usability enhancements.
This new library is a new beginning. In the future, you can look forward to many exciting improvements to support the goal of timely, rapid availability of accessible books for individuals who want them.
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