Since we launched the Digital Content Store (DCS) last July, the system has come a long way, developing its existing functionality as well as introducing brand new features for our users. Our community has grown alongside the system, increasing from 62 users when the academic year started, to now over 80 HEIs.
However, we're keen to keep improving the DCS, both for existing users, as well as for those yet to sign up! As part of this ongoing development, we're excited to discuss some of the new features we've been developing over the last couple of months!
This phase of development has continued to build upon the aims of earlier phases - making the DCS more usable for all our HE customers. So what have we been covering during this stage of development?
Well, alongside the normal usability improvements that we implement from customer feedback we receive, we are also looking to complete a number of major improvements to the system. Our first major improvement is the introduction of an Academic Request Form, which allows Academic staff to make requests for digitisations directly into the system. This is a really exciting development for us, and we're still looking for volunteers to help test out the functionality, so if you're interested please do get in touch with us.
Another key piece of functionality that we're implementing is the introduction of a Student Reader into the DCS. This will enable students to open their content directly in the browser, rather than downloading a PDF from the system, as well as offering additional functionality, such as the ability to highlight passages of words, copy the information to a notepad with a reference, and to search the web. Again, we're interested in working with HEIs to pilot this new functionality so please do get in touch with us if this is of interest!
The final key customer-facing improvement that we're planning to be covered in this development work is the integration of Innovative's Sierra Library Management System. This will further streamline workflows for our customers who use this system.
However, customer facing improvements are not the only work we carry out as part of our plan of continual improvement. We are always working behind the scenes to further improve the security and resilience of the system and this is again a key part of the work we will be carrying out over the coming months. Whilst this is often work our customers cannot directly see, it is work that our customers benefit from, as it ensures the continued smooth running of the DCS on a day to day basis, and reduces risk to the system. This helps us to continue to provide customers with a seamless user experience with very minimal downtime to the system.
Part of the product management process is planning the development that we choose to include in each phase, and balancing the different priorities that exist. Primarily this involves balancing the priorities within the company and those of our customers - often quite a challenging task! The Product Manager therefore has to have a good overview of all the internal teams and their requirements of the system, as well as having an in-depth understanding of the customer needs and the feedback received daily from those using the system. They then have to consider the budget and time available for the developments, and take all of this into consideration when choosing which developments are to be addressed in each round of developments.
Striking the right balance when planning new developments is a key part of the management of a product and something that makes the role both challenging and enjoyable. As you can see, customer feedback from both current users, and those that want to use the system in the future, is absolutely vital to our development process, and is something we at CLA value highly; so do please keep sending in ideas and things for us to consider! Whilst we can't address all the ideas immediately, absolutely every single idea gets added to our ideas log which is maintained by the Product Manager and referred to prior to every new phase of development - contact firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your ideas for improvements.