We love collaborating closely with our clients and taking their feedback & ideas to make our tools better for the entire community. Today’s LibCal code update is the result of one such collaboration. Namely, the LibCal implementation team at the University of Arizona was getting ready to roll out the Spaces booking system using LibCal when they noticed several accessibility and usability issues with the default spaces booking screens on mobile devices.
So, we worked with them on fixing many Spaces booking mobile-view issues and implementing accessibility improvements as well. Given the importance of accessibility for our clients, and the fact that an increasing number of patrons use mobile devices for bookings, we wanted to release these improvements to production servers asap. Basically, the accessibility and mobile improvements trump everything else! Today (Monday) the changes were made live on US servers, and tomorrow (Tuesday) the changes will be live on EU and Canadian servers, too.
What Has Changed?
The booking process for Spaces (not the old Room Bookings, but the new Spaces Bookings) is very slightly different but much improved! We did a thorough testing run to ensure that nothing broke with existing customizations. The results were encouraging but we urge all admins to check their Spaces customizations and go through a sample booking of a space, to ensure everything looks good in your system. If you need assistance with any customization tweaks, please reach out to support and we’ll take care of it asap.
It’s important to know that these changes only affect the Spaces booking. The Equipment booking is next in line for accessibility and mobile-view improvements, and we plan to release Equipment booking improvements in a few weeks (around Aug 15th). Here are the changes:
- The Spaces booking grid now looks good on mobile devices, with larger/more tap-able grid which can now be used to book multiple spaces. Plus, it’s accessible, too!
- The Dates-related buttons in the top right corner of the booking grid are now larger, for easier emphasis, and accessible / they “glow” nicely into new line on small mobile screens.
- The legend for color coding of the grid now looks like real legend, rather than looking like small button labels which can be confusing to users.
- The Spaces booking calendar now defaults to the current hour of the day as much as possible given the screen size issues. This is great for mobile screens because it minimizes the amount of scrolling required.
- The Info button for more information about a space is now accessible and mobile-friendly, as is the resulting modal window showing more info about a given space.
- The Booking Details section is now presented in a grid for better mobile layout and accessibility.
- Separate Terms & Conditions sections are now condensed into one shaded area so that it looks better on mobile screens.
- The Thank You screen is more verbose with a bit more detail on what happens next (this text is customizable as well, via language tokens).
- The customizable Date formats now apply consistently across the Spaces bookings screens.
- “Add Equipment” button no longer appears unless there is equipment a the location the user is at (duh, right? We agree, and sorry about this bug).
- “Submit Times” button wording is now fully customizable using the language tokens.
What Is New?
Besides these mobile and accessibility changes to the existing screens, we also used this code update opportunity to introduce bunch of important new features. We know you are going to love these, and they will make LibCal even more fully featured spaces booking platform. This is the new stuff/new functionality we rolled out:
- LibAuth authentication booking restrictions now work (optionally, of course) on a Category level or even on individual Item level too. Imagine the possibilities – set the rules as to who can reserve a given space on an item level – this specific conference room can only be booked by Staff, or this Category of auditorium spaces can only be booked by Faculty… this new feature truly opens exciting possibilities for the utility and usefulness of LibCal at your institution.
- Capacity display is now optional in the booking grid/table. So many of you asked to hide this using CSS tricks. Now you can do it “the right way” – head to admin>equipment & spaces>settings>public spaces settings>capacity information, and you can choose to hide the capacity label.
- Spaces can now be set to show either a single day’s worth of availability, or the multi-day slider we use right now. Change under admin>E&S>settings. This was another frequent feature request.
That’s it for this release! We know, it’s a lot. And all good stuff, too. Over the next 2 weeks we will work on similar changes (accessibility improvements and mobile-friendly view) for the Equipment Bookings so stay tuned… and please do not hesitate to reach out about any of the changes we have introduced today. We stand ready to help with any customization issue that may pop up.
Big thanks to the library team at the University of Arizona for their help in getting these improvements out quickly, for the benefit of the entire 1,000+ strong LibCal community.