California Digital Library UI/UX review report

May 29th, 2014 by  | No Comments

The California Digital Library became one of the Public Knowledge Project’s first formal development partners in 2012.  As a major part of this commitment, CDL undertook a comprehensive user interface/experience review of the Open Journal Systems (OJS) 3.0 alpha in 2013.  This was a massive undertaking on CDL’s part, requiring considerable preparation on the part of their professional team and the participation of volunteers from five major institutions currently using OJS.  The review concentrated on five major workflow areas:

  • Journal setup
  • Article submission
  • Article review
  • User account setup and role assignment
  • Publication of an article and issue

The findings are extensive and identified many areas where the OJS 3.0 alpha version needs major attention to ensure it provides an optimized and intuitive user experience.  This feedback is timely as the new OJS 3.0 software is still undergoing major development. PKP will use the CDL report to guide the ongoing UI/UX refinement of the first, and subsequent, production releases of the OJS 3.X software line. CDL’s report also informed PKP of the need to integrate a user interface review into all future software updates to ensure a positive user experience going into the future.

Rachael Hu, CDL’s User Experience Design Manager stated: “It was an illuminating and gratifying experience talking with the OJS user community. I hope that we have done them justice and that the report serves as a window into what will be most helpful for them.”  Rachael was responsible for coordinating and directing the UI/UX review and preparing the full report with the findings, available on our past R&D Initiatives page

John Willinsky, PKP’s founder and director confirmed: “We look forward to getting to work on changes, informed by the discoveries and recommendations from this report. It will help us deliver a more effective and better designed system for scholarly publishing, and we fully appreciate that this involves both the detail work of such things as layout fixes and the procedural introduction of UX resources, QA procedures, and user representation into our development processes.”

There are many different ways that the PKP community contributes to the enhancement and support of PKP’s software.  This can range from assisting other users on the PKP support forum and providing translations, to testing new releases and contributing software code and plugins.  CDL’s work is a significant and unique one that the entire PKP community will benefit from for years to come. Moving forward, PKP is implementing a more formal UI/UX process that will involve greater user involvement.  Work is underway to integrate CDL’s work, and feedback from other users, into the further development of OJS 3.0. For more information on this process, follow along as it takes place, or if you would like to contribute; please visit our UI/UX process wiki pages

If you have any questions about contributing to PKP, whether through ongoing user interface design enhancements or in other ways, contact us at

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