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ProQuest One Academic Voted ‘Best Interface’ by Charleston Advisor Readers
“Users have a lot of choices when it comes to research, and they want to follow the path with the least amount of friction,” says Serena Rosenhan, who leads User Experience at ProQuest. “When they find a resource that makes things easier for them…they keep coming back.”
“The product delivers the award-winning usability librarians and library users have come to expect,” the Advisor’s review states.
ProQuest One Academic is the world’s most comprehensive interdisciplinary destination for research, teaching and learning. But beyond the product’s 250 years of multi-format content, its interface is what caught the attention of Charleston Advisor readers.
The product is available on the ProQuest platform, which continues to evolve and improve with new enhancements added in early 2019. Having a solid, reliable and flexible platform as the base of ProQuest One Academic was key to the development of the ProQuest One Academic interface.
Serena Rosenhan, ProQuest’s VP of User Experience, said her team listened to librarians and users – and gathered user analytics from the ProQuest platform – to create an interface that met the needs of researchers, from undergraduates to professionals.
“Our users have a wide range of information needs: broad, narrow, exhaustive,” she said. “They have a lot of choices when it comes to research, and they want to follow the path with the least amount of friction. When they find a resource that makes things easier for them, they trust it, and they keep coming back.”
So Rosenhan and her team set out to build an interface that enticed users to do just that. They redesigned the search results page to give more prominence to ebooks and videos, offering users a broader selection of relevant overview material and faster access to content in new and varied formats. They also provided new “source type” filters for formats like journals, ebooks, video and news directly above the search box on the basic search page, enabling more targeted and efficient searching.
The simple look and feel of the ProQuest platform keeps less-experienced researchers from getting overwhelmed while still maintaining power for those further along in their academic journey.
“Searching an academic database can feel like a bit of a ‘black hole’ with a long list of search results,” said Austin Bedell, Manager, User Experience at ProQuest. “For students, we’ve added more visuals like book covers and video thumbnails to help them pinpoint the content they need. It’s colorful and easy to understand. But we also maintain an advanced search option that is powerful enough for the skilled researcher.”
Both Rosenhan and Bedell said they approach design by building features to help users solve the issues they’re struggling with. “The one thread that’s constant is we have a simple user-centered workflow that helps them do their jobs,” Bedell said. “When we get this right, the changes that we’ve made improve our users’ lives.”
This is the second “Best Interface” award for ProQuest in the last four years – the ProQuest platform also won the award in 2015. In addition, ProQuest One Academic also received a 4.33 out of 5 rating from ccAdvisor, a renowned source of reviews for information databases and digital resources.