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Five Great Upgrades in History – And One in the Future
Throughout time, humans have continued to search for ways to improve our lives.
Here at ProQuest, we do our part by working hard to keep upgrading our products like OASIS, which got us thinking about our favorite upgrades in history:
- Outhouses to indoor plumbing. Enough said.
- Raw potatoes to French fries – creating magic out of dirty roots for centuries.
- Squinting to bifocals. Our sincere thanks to Benjamin Franklin for making small text easier to read with his invention of “double-spectacles.”
- Watching cat videos on the radio to watching cat videos online. Life was challenging for feline aficionados before the internet.
- OASIS before 2015 to OASIS today. This is a ProQuest blog – so you had to see that coming.
For the last three years, the ProQuest team has been upgrading OASIS, a search, selection and ordering system for academic libraries. While retro looks are trendy in shoes and facial hair, users expect a modern, intuitive experience when using software. So, with the input of more than 70 OASIS users, our product teams made dramatic improvements to OASIS in three areas.
We asked Kevan McGowan, Lead User Experience Designer on the OASIS upgrade, to share his thoughts on the project results as work concludes in 2019.
“We started by reworking the navigation options in OASIS. We leveraged current thinking in user experience with input from OASIS users to create ways to navigate quickly and intuitively through the workflow of search to order content. This also allowed us to apply the ProQuest styling, so the user experience is consistent across ProQuest products.”
“When we started the project to update OASIS, the pages were cluttered and filled with far too many options for functionality. Today’s best practice is to simplify screens to focus users’ attention on a single task or function. That’s why we have been pulling content and tasks crammed into one screen into separate pages focused on a key action. OASIS users are presented with only the information they need when reviewing search results, ordering titles and reviewing orders. This reduces mistakes and makes the work go quickly.”
“Not all the work has been improving the look and flow of OASIS. Engineers have steadily upgraded OASIS’s infrastructure for powerful processing, yielding faster search results so users can move quickly through their tasks. We’ve also added ways for users to process actions in bulk and be better informed of delivery times.
“All this work and investment of resources has been to make OASIS easier to use by today’s librarians. As with all ProQuest products and services, we upgrade to help libraries offer better research, better learning and better outcomes for their students, faculty and researchers.”