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User Experience and Accessibility

Return to Alma Roadmap Highlights Overview

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User Experience & Accessibility


Alma is designed as a modern and intuitive interface. We aim to allow the user to be efficient and to ensure that workflows are as simple as possible. We also take into consideration accessibility, allowing people with disabilities to easily use the software.

in June 2016 Ex Libris started a long-term journey for improving the Alma User Experience. Initially, we aimed to improve the stratification of users in the UI. We focused on visual design, most used workflows, navigation, screen layout, system-wide tools, and messages. Following this first phase, we started a second phase in 2018 focusing on the Metadata Editor, workflow pain points, and system-wide tools. Through 2019 and 2020 we started to introduce new UI concepts, with the intention of implementing them in Alma throughout  different areas of the system. We've already started with the New Layout and soon we will implement 'side by side' and the slide-out panel.  

At Ex Libris, we make every effort to ensure that Alma can be used by everyone. Alma is continually designed and developed to meet Level A and AA of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) and Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act for features and functions. See Alma Accessibility Statement

For more details on current rollout plans see Usability Improvements.

2016 - 2018 - new UI 2019 - 2020 - new concepts 2021 and beyond - apply concepts across the system
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  • Visual Design
  • Navigation
  • System-wide UI Elements
  • Screen Layout Data Arrangement
  • Messages & Alerts
  • New Layout
  • Side by Side
  • Slide-out panel
  • Cards
  • Apply the new concepts to the main areas and workflows of Alma

Alma new UI concepts

New Layout

What we learned about Alma navigation from our user study:

  • the menu should be more scalable,
  • vertical space is very expensive,
  • there are too many elements at the top of the screen.
  • users have to scroll a lot.

As result, we decided to change the menu navigation to be on the side. This provides the user with a  focused work area, optimized use of space, scalability, less scrolling, and a menu that is easier to navigate. The new layout is compounded of a new vertical customizable menu and a header with search always on top, as well as the summary section on the side, aimed to optimize the use of space​. The new layout gives the user more options to customize their menus and facilitates improved user workflows. 

New Layout

Side by Side

From the user study we learned about list management:

  • Too many clicks involved in repetitive work
  • It is hard to find mistakes in a list
  • It takes the user a long time to make small changes
  • Space usage is not optimal
The concept of a side by side split view is a combination of a list view, view, and edit mode. The user gains many benefits from this, such as an optimized view for every data element, quick actions, better performance, and the ability to toggle between different views.
Disclaimer: the following mockup is the conceptual design of the holdings search. It illustrates the possible usage of the side by side concept and might change when implemented. 
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Slide-out panel

As part of our user study, we learned that one of the important things that users look for is to keep their work in context while reviewing a list. The slide-out panel presents a full editing form for a specific entity, without the need to switch to a new page and thus lose context. When the user finishes the editing, the changes are saved, and the user is returned to the list and to the record that was in focus.

Disclaimer: the following mockup is the conceptual design of the slide-out panel. It illustrates the possible usage of the UI concept and might change when implemented for a specific form.

Platform UI - Slide out panel.png


The card is a complementary concept to the side by side option. It will provide an optimized quick view and edit. The card will provide both a specific view for each role and entity and will also allow for performing quick inline editing. 

Disclaimer: the following mockup is the conceptual design of the card. It illustrates the possible usage of the UI concept and might change when it will be implemented.

Platform UI - new concepts - card.png

2021 H2

Accessibility -  WCAG 2.1 level AA

What’s New Highlights Impact
All elements of Alma will comply with WCGA 2.1 level AA
  • Colors and contrast standards​

  • Keyboard usage instead of a mouse​

  • Support for screen readers​

  • Zoom and responsiveness

Users with disabilities will be able to better interact with Alma

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Safari Certification 

What’s New Highlights Impact
The user will be able to use the Safari browser 
  • Ability to use a Safari browser on MacOS​

  • Ability to user a Safari browser on iOS, using an iPad in landscape orientation

Users will be able to use a larger variety of major browsers according to their preference

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2022 H1

Accessibility - high contrast color scheme​

What’s New Highlights Impact
The user will be able to use a special high contrast color scheme The user will be able to utilize a special high contrast color scheme that complies with WCGA 2.1 level AA standard   Users with sight disabilities will be able to see elements more clearly

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Deep Linking

URM-121591: Deep linking capability for Alma

What’s New Highlights Impact
The user will be able to use a generated link to access a specific record while logged in
  • Ability to generate a direct link for each entity in the system from an entity form, search results,  My Activity Center - recent entities​

  • Have a link to the entity in letters, exports, publishing and system reports 

A quicker workflow involving external steps

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2022 H2 - 2023

Improved Configuration – Enhanced UX and wizard

What’s New Highlights Impact
Improved access to configurations based on user workflows with easier editing and settings
  • Find all relevant configurations for a specific workflow using a more granular menu​

  • Inline editing of code tables and mapping tables​

  • Enable the user to export and import code tables and mapping tables​

  • Use a wizard for configuring predefined tasks

Users will be able to configure the system more quickly and intuitively

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