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Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

What's Changed in the Redesigned ALA Connect

Or, A New Look for ALA Connect!

As part of the 2012 redesign of the ALA Connect interface, we've moved some things around, added shortcuts to make it faster to get places, and changed some labels to make it easier to figure out where to start.

Here's a summary of some of the biggest improvements:

  • The first change you'll probably notice is the navigation. The list of your groups is now on the left, instead of at the top, and there are only two columns on the site instead of three. Hopefully this will make the screen less cluttered and easier to read.

  • We also merged all of your group news into a single stream on the home page, so when you're logged in, you now start with a single view of everything from your groups that you haven't read yet. In other words, the "my unread items" screen is now your home page once you're logged in.

  • Even better, you can now filter that single stream of home page content by type by clicking on the icons in the new toolbar. If you want to find just the latest files added to your groups or jump into discussions, you can easily see just those by clicking on the "Files" icon. You can even use the "Show" options above the toolbar to view just those items you haven't read yet. The toolbar on your group's home page works the same way.


     

  • You can also filter your group's home page by subject heading, too, because you now have one set of subject headings that work across all content types (except chats, which will come later).


     

  • Overall, we suggest that the bulk of your content be added as "Discussions" so that you can organize them into different discussion forums. Use "Online Docs" when you want to collaboratively edit a document on the screen and "Files" when you want to share a specific file type with everyone.

    You'll also notice that the "posts" tool has disappeared. We heard from many of you that it was confusing to know when to use a post versus an online doc or a file or a discussion, so we've reduced the choice overload. Don't worry, though - all of your old posts are still live; they're just in the "General News & Discussion" forum in your Discussions area. You can read a little more about this in Where Did All My/Our Posts Go?

  • Looking for your profile or a way to quickly edit the list of groups sending you email notifications? Find those links by clicking on your name in the upper right-hand corner of any page.

  • It's also easier to tell right away if you've enabled email notifications from a particular group. Just go to the group's home page and look for the setting in the left-hand column. If the box is checked, you should be receiving emails. If it isn't, just check the box to enable them - much easier!

There are lots of other tweaks we've added, and we'll be doing more work in a second phase of improvements in early 2013. For this first round, we concentrated on making it easier to get around, find things, and add content, so we're excited to hear your feedback. Don't be shy - let us know what you think about the new design.

Additional redesign help documents:

 

Jen Waller's picture

These changes look great! Hip hip hooray for usability. Beta-size me, please!

Jen Waller
Interdisciplinary Librarian
International Studies Librarian
AIMS Instructor
215 King Library
Miami University
Oxfor
Carol Phillips's picture

I would like to sample your test site!

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

I've sent you both login information, so please let me know what you think of the new interface.

Jenny

Sonja Plummer-Morgan's picture

Me too :DD.  Count me in on the beta action.  

Sonja Plummer Morgan
President Maine Library Association & VP/Pres Elect ARSL
Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library
39 Second Street
Presque Isle, Maine 04769
(207) 764.2571
http://www.twitter.com/SonjaandLibrary

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

I'll send you the info.

Jenny

Robert Banks's picture

Jenny,

 

I'll be glad to help with beta testing.  I like the changes so far.

 

Rob Banks, Kansas Chapter Councilor

Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library

Topeka, KS

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Info is on its way....

Jenny

Laura Quilter's picture

I'll beta too!

__________________________________
Laura Quilter / lquilter@library.umass.edu
Copyright and Information Policy Librarian
W.E.B. Du Bois Library
University of Massachusetts, Amherst 

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Beta info is on its way to you :)

Jenny

Jennifer Peterson's picture

Yes!  I would love to try the beta test site.

John Gottfried's picture

I'd be happy to give it a try.  I really like what I see in the preview above.

John Gottfried
Western Kentucky University
Reference Coordinator
270.745.6176
jcgottfried@gmail.com

Diane Kelly's picture

I'll try it out, too.

Diane

Diane R. (Chen) Kelly

School Librarian

Hattie Cotton STEM Magnet Elementary School

Nashville, TN

Jo Alcock's picture

I'd be happy to help test the beta site too.

Joeyanne Libraryanne
Blog |

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Thank you to Jennifer, John, Diane, and Jo. Beta test info is on its way to you.

Jenny

John Moorman's picture

I would be happy to be part of the beta test.

John A. Moorman Director Williamsburg Regional Library 7770 Croaker Road Williamsburg, Virginia 23188 757-259-7777

Bruce Farrar's picture

Jenny:

Good work. It looks cleaner and less confusing than the current layout, and, hopefully, less frustrating for the user. I’d be happy to volunteer for guinea pig duty.

Bruce Farrar

Tracy Hall's picture

Hello. Are beta testers still needed? I would like to help out! Please send me the scoop. Glad to help. Tracy Hall

Amy Ferguson's picture

Let me know if you are still looking for Beta testers.

Laura Dowler's picture

If you are still looking for Beta Testers I would be interested.

Laura Dowler, MLIS
www.lauradowler.net 

"Research means that you don't know, but are willing to find out."
-Charles

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Sorry for the delayed response, but I've been out sick for a couple of weeks. Bruce, Tracy, Amy, and Laura - I'm sending you all login information for the beta test. Thank you so much for volunteering to help.

Jenny

Irene Briggs's picture

Please add me to the beta test too.

Thanks.

Elena Rosenfeld's picture

If you want more in the mix; I'm happy to play with the site, too! Otherwise, I'll just comment on the updates.

It's looking good and if it can streamline into other tools I have to use daily, it will be a hit...hopefully with others, too.

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Irene and Elena, I'm sending beta test info your way.

A note for everyone that we're still soliciting feedback for another couple of weeks. We're planning to launch the redesign shortly after the July 4th (U.S.) holiday.

Thanks for volunteering,
Jenny 

Cynthia Robin Levine's picture

I'd like to participate in the Beta test, if it's not too late.

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Thanks, Cynthia - I'll send you the info today.

Jenny

Alexis Linoski's picture

I'm game.  Just let me know.

Thanks.

 

Alexis

Ian Chan's picture

Hi,

I'm available to help with the beta test.

Thanks,

Ian

Web Development Librarian
California State University San Marcos
http://biblio.csusm.edu/people/ichan/

Gretchen Kolderup's picture

I'm a little late, but if you're still leting people in to the test site, I'd like to preview it so I can tell my committee members what to expect!

Patricia Hswe's picture

Hi Jenny,

My interest group had a webinar last week, and we would like to post the PDF (of the PowerPoint that our presenters gave) to our ALA Connect site. How do I upload the PDF file so that I can link to it, and so that our users can view it in a web browser rather than having to wait for the file to download on their machines? The ALA Connect site seeemed to have this capability earlier this year, before the change to the new, current look. In otherwords, the PDF links we posted to our ALA Connect site open up in a web browser, while now the only recourse seems to download them onto one's computer. What I'd like to be able to do, once linking to this resource, is post the link for the presentation to various mailing lists. Any idea what is up?

Thanks,

Patricia

Patricia Hswe
Assistant Librarian
Digital Content Strategist / Head, ScholarSphere User Services
Penn State University Libraries
University Park Campus