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User Experience, Accessibility, and Infrastructure

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User Experience, Accessibility and Infrastructure

Overview

User Experience

Alma is designed to have 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 accessibility into consideration, with the goal of enabling people with disabilities to easily use the software.

In June, 2016, Ex Libris initiated a long-term project dedicated to improving the Alma user experience, beginning by focusing on enhancing Alma's visual design and revamping its workflows.

During 2019 and 2020, we introduced a new approach we call "Enhanced UX", which includes many layout improvements in the user interface, such as a "side-by-side" view and slide-out panels, a more powerful advanced search module, and additional improved functionality. The first areas in Alma to be included in the new enhanced UX are the Physical Holdings and the Resource Sharing task list. To ease users' adjustment to the enhanced UX pages, we have added a "phased role out" feature that enables users to opt in and out of new pages for an extended period of time, allowing them plenty of time to get used to the new layout.

2023-2025 are expected to be the years of Enhanced UX, as many new areas in Alma will embrace the enhanced UX pages. In 2023, the Unified PO Line workflow, the Analytics UI in Alma, and the Manage Sets page received this upgrade, and in 2024 it is planned that the All Titles search results page, the Manage Patron Services and Return Items pages, and the Digital Titles and Digital Files search pages will receive this upgrade too, followed by a gradual upgrade of the Physical Titles search page and Electronic Titles search page in late 2024 and in 2025. These enhancements are expected to deliver simplified, streamlined, and user-friendly workflows, empowering users to efficiently accomplish their tasks and daily responsibilities.

2016-2018 - New UI 2019-2020 - New Concepts 2021 and Beyond - Apply New Concepts Across the System
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  • Visual Design
  • Navigation
  • System-Wide UI Elements
  • Page 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

Accessibility

At Ex Libris, we make every effort to ensure that Alma can be used by everyone. Alma is 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 the Alma Accessibility Statement.

2024 H1

Support Multiple Tabs in Browser

What’s New Highlights Impact

The librarian will be able to sign in to Alma as the same user of the same institution in multiple tabs of the same internet-browser in parallel, and will be able to work on several records or pages, or perform different workflow tasks in separate tabs within the same browser.

  • The same user will be able to sign in to Alma via more than one tab of the same internet browser.
  • The user will be able to use different or similar pages with different records in multiple tabs in a single browser.
  • Each tab will keep it own session.
  • Supporting existing navigation.

The Librarian will be more productive and efficient, for example, by being able to open records in parallel internet-browser tabs and copy information from one tab to another.

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Accessibility: Annual Conformance Report (based on VPAT)

What's New Highlights Impact

An updated Conformance Report on the newest compliance with WCAG 2.1 Levels A and AA, covering the current and new layout.

  • A new Conformance Report for WCAG 2.1 based on a third-party leading accessibility company audit.
  • Update compliance after enhancements. 
  • Report on existing exceptions.
  • Covers the new layout.
  • Transparency regarding accessibility compliance.
  • Easier to use by people with disabilities.

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Manual Job Scheduling 

What’s New Highlights Impact

Permitted users will be able to schedule their manual jobs.

  • Schedule a manual job to run on a predefined, delayed, or recurring schedule.
  • Manage scheduled manual jobs.

Users will be able to schedule in advance the running of manual jobs for a time that is most suitable to them and the system.

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Real time Notification for Jobs

What’s New Highlights Impact

 A new notification will be provided to the user when a manual job is completed.

  • A new notification icon is added to the action icons.
  • An indication for a new notification will be displayed on the new notification icon when a manual job has finished.

Users can continue to work without the need to check the job history or receive an external email.

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2024 H2

Accessibility: Upgrade to WCAG 2.2 AA

What’s New Highlights Impact

The UI will comply with the new WCAG 2.2 accessibility standard.

Compliance with new criteria in WCAG 2.2  Level A and AA:

Easier to use by people with disabilities.

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Quick Focus on Sections, Fields, and Actions

What’s New Highlights Impact

Ability to easily trigger, find, and focus on various sections, fields, or actions in the new layout.

Allow the user to easily  write the name of the section, action, or field they want to trigger, find, and focus on.

Increase productivity and usability by allowing an easier and quicker way for users to find what they are looking for on a page.

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Sets – Enhanced Functionality

What’s New Highlights Impact

Simplifying the sets process to be quicker and more straightforward, including quick access capabilities.

  • Intuitive and straightforward set creation.
  • Quick and intuitive utilization of sets for various jobs.
  • Quick access to commonly used sets.
  • Easier sets management.

Simpler workflows with fewer clicks and more efficiency.

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Color Theme Selection by User

What’s New Highlights Impact

Allowing color theme configuration at the user level.

  • Allowing the user to select the color theme in the user interface.
  • Administrators can control permissions allowing the user to change the color theme according to the institution's policy.

The user can select the appropriate color theme.

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Bulk Action Results Indication

What’s New Highlights Impact

A new and clearer indication in the result status of bulk actions done by the user.

  • A Success / Failure / Warning indication will appear next to every effected record.

  • The user will have the ability to filter the list of records based on the action's result status.

An efficient workflow for errors handling.

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Menu Simplification: Support Similar Terms in More Languages via Search 

Workflow Simplification theme

What’s New Highlights Impact

Support similar terms in additional languages.

Search-matching capabilities for non-identical terms in additional languages:

  • German
  • Spanish
  • Hebrew

Note: The additional languages will be coordinated with the relevant Alma user community.

The librarian will be able to find relevant entries in the menu based on a standard term in the same language as the interface language.

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2025 H1

Accessibility: Improved Keyboard Shortcuts

What’s New Highlights Impact

Align keyboard shortcut behavior between the current and new layout pages.

  • Supporting shortcuts in the new layout pages similar to current pages.
  • Additional shortcuts for common actions.

Strengthening accessibility across Alma, with less use of the mouse and more intuitive and familiar keyboard actions.

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Jobs – New Layout

What’s New Highlights Impact

A quick and intuitive way to use jobs, including improved job timing and scheduling capabilities.

  • Creating jobs will be more intuitive and straightforward.
  • Job scheduling will be flexible and easy to do.
  • Accessing often-used jobs will be quick and intuitive.

Simpler workflows with fewer clicks and more efficiency.

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Menu Simplification: Customized Menu

Workflow Simplification Theme

What’s New Highlights Impact

The librarian by default will have a simplified menu and will be able to choose entries  commonly accessed.

  • A new simplified menu will be implemented by default with the most common entries.
  • A new ability to customize the menu using simple drag-and-drop functionality.
  • It will be easy to access the full menu when needed.

The menu will be customized according to your needs, allowing quick access and improved usability.

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Apache Solr Search Engine Upgrade to Apache Solr-8

What’s New Highlights Impact

Upgrading the Solr search engine to a new version (Solr-8).

Upgrading to a newer version of the Solr search engine.

Solr-8 strengthened security means less vulnerability and enhanced performance, which will improve the user experience.

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