If everything goes to plan, the new staff interface will launch next weekend (22nd September) and you’ll have the option to start using it before then if you’d like.
Since launching MyReading last year, we’ve mostly been concentrating on adding extra functionality and, invariably, this has led to the interface becoming more cluttered. Earlier on this year, we began working on a redesign to tidy things up, improve the look & feel and to provide better support for mobile devices.
The changes are primarily to the way the reading list is displayed and, although we’ve not removed any of the existing functionality, you might find a few things have been moved to new places…
The top of the page now has a drop-down toolbar, which gives access to the following options (some of which will depend upon if you have editing rights to the list you are viewing):
- edit list options – lets you change the list status (under review, published, etc), add header and footer text to the list, and toggle various others options
- manage sections – add new sections, rename sections, move sections around, etc
- add new item to list – I think you can probably guess what this does 😉
- view activity summary – view a report showing which references have been clicked on and which books were borrowed from the library during the current and previous academic years
- view list history – an activity log, showing you who did what and when to the list
- flush list cache – allows you empty the temporary cache, so that all the references are regenerated from scratch (see the “Cache” section at the foot of this blog post for more info)
We’ve introduced “inline editing” to some parts of the page, which makes editing things even easier. For example, to edit a section title, simply left-click on it…
…and then you can edit the content…
…finally, click the “update” button to save your changes…
To make better use of the screen space, we’ve introduced tabs as part of the reference display. The tabs that appear will depend on who you are and if you have editing rights to the list.
The default tab is details and it should look familiar, as it contains the access links and details of the reference:
If there’s a preview of the book available on Google Books, you’ll find it in the preview tab:
more like this is a new feature and many thanks to Cath Ellis and Merrick Burrow for providing invaluable suggestions! This tab acts as a jumping off point to find similar things, such as articles and books by the same author, books with the same Dewey classification, books borrowed by other students, and relevant journal titles.
The next tab, edit, brings together all of the editing functionality into one place. As well as correcting any mistakes in the reference, you can also add notes and alter the relevancy (recommended, background, essential, etc):
Finally, the options tab brings together a selection of various other options relating to the reference, including permanent links, adding extra web links, copying the reference to another list, and exporting to bibliographic reference software:
Another one of the key drivers for the redesign was to improve the speed of the software, especially with some of the larger lists that have 700+ items. MyReading does a lot of caching of data to ensure that the web page can rendered as quickly as possible. Under the previous version of the software, it took about 1 second per reference to create a list from scratch, so a list of 60 items would take a minute to load! The new version of the software drops that down to about 1/10 of a second per reference (assuming that the cache is empty). However, if the cache is doing its job, then even the longest list should load completely in under 3 seconds.
If you ever find that the list is behaving oddly — perhaps you edited a reference, but the changes didn’t appear — you can use the flush list cache to clear the cached items and regenerate the list from scratch.