Awesome LibGuides A-Z and Search updates still coming – just a week later

Couple of weeks ago we announced super exciting LibGuides updates with a slew of great new functionality, from social sharing and thumbnails, to brand-new A-Z database management functionality and much-improved LibGuides search. The first part of the functionality refresh went out last week (social sharing and guide thumbnails) and just as we were getting ready to release the A-Z and Search changes we ran into a few snags which necessitate that we do more tests and tweaks before the release hits our production servers. So in the interest of minimizing any potential issues or breakages we will spend a few more days testing and release the new A-Z and Search functionality on Tuesday September 6th, in the evening hours (EST).  This extra time will be put to good use…

  1. We have a guide ready for you detailing all the css changes on A-Z page (and we will update this guide in the next 24 hours to also detailed any Search page changes and search pro tips). http://support.springshare.com/libguides/changes  This will give you ample time to plan and execute any template updates right after the update.
  2. Even more accessibility improvements. We are going to use these few extra days of development to go through additional LibGuides pages and scrub them for any accessibility issues (and fix the issues we find). We’re thrilled that you are so excited and supportive of the accessibility improvements we are making in LibGuides (and all of our apps for that matter) and we are fully committed to you in our promise to ensure that all our apps (with LibGuides as the flagship) are fully accessible both from the patron view and soon enough from the admin view as well. Accessibility trumps all and we will gladly lead the charge in ensuring all library web systems are fully accessible.
  3. Instead of splitting up the update into A-Z update and then Search update a day later (as originally planned) we were able to figure out how to do them both at the same time without causing any downtime – yay. So there will only be one code update on September 6th, introducing all the new functionality.

Thanks for your support during this development and testing process, and we look forward to September 6th, EST evening time LibGuides code update – you are going to love the new functionality as much as we loved developing it!

4 comments

  1. Sorry, but we do NOT love the new look of the A-Z list with all those icons about links opening up in a new window. It makes it look cluttered and links to videos and informational guides next to the resource name get lost. In the least, this should be an optional feature. Plus, the links on the A-Z list SHOULD open in a new window since they link to resources outside the LibGuide world, so people should be expecting this. I really don’t understand the benefit of this feature. In case this is an accessibility issue, I don’t mean to be opposed to accessibility, so please enlighten me on how this feature makes the list more accessible. Thank you!

    • Slaven says:

      Hi Patricia, sorry that we do not share the same view on the accessibility issue and the importance of the visual indicator. We do feel strongly about the need to ensure that our pages are fully accessible and this was one of the recommendations from WCAG, i.e. “The objective of this technique is to provide a warning before automatically opening a new window or tab. Opening new windows automatically when a link is activated can be disorienting for people who have difficulty perceiving visual content, and for some people with cognitive disabilities, if they are not warned in advance. Providing a warning allows the user to decide it they want to leave the current window, and the warning will help them find their way back, if they do decide they would like to go to the new window. It will help them understand that the “back” button will not work and that they have to return to the last window they had open, in order to find their previous location.” We can help you eliminate these, please email us at support but we strongly recommend against you removing them as that will affect the accessibility of your system. We’d love to hear opinions and suggestions from our clients as to how to ensure that both sets of users (those with accessibility needs and those without) are taken care of, by default, when accessing LibGuides pages. Thanks so much!

      • Hi Slaven, thank you very much for the explanation — this is very helpful for understanding what the icon is meant to accomplish. It makes perfect sense from an accessibility standpoint, and certainly is something public libraries should be providing. So, here’s a question for you: Just like one can be in edit mode or get the public view, or with some websites choose the display language, would it be possible for the user to choose regular display versus accessible display? If not possible now, could this be a choice in the future sometime? I am not opposed to accessibility; the issue is that for our user base this feature isn’t necessary, so if it were optional, that would be helpful. Thank you!

        • Slaven says:

          Hi Patricia, we’re always looking for ideas and suggestions from clients – the goal is to make the system work as best as possible for all user groups, and separate pages like you mentioned are certainly an option – there are several complications which arise in this situation but it’s not off the table and we’re considering it. Thanks so much.

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