Author Archives: Mundia Miles

Gotta Be Starting Something

Hello, world! My name is Asad, and I joined Emerald around seven weeks ago as a user experience (UX) Developer. First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone at Emerald. It is not always easy to transition into a new career, meeting new people and learning the ins-and-outs of a business, but the people at Emerald made me feel welcome and made the transition a seamless experience.

To be clear, I have never held the role of a user experience designer before my current position at Emerald. Sure, I had created wireframes, prototypes and assumption based personas, but I had never really delved into UX. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was only skimming the surface. There’s so much more in UX than meets the eye. To be completely honest, I thought UX was wireframing, designing and creating interactive prototypes. Sure, that’s a part of it, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. To get to the wireframing and designing stage, you need to know what you want to improve; you need to plan and conduct research sessions and come up with innovative solutions to problems that don’t just imitate other solutions but improve on them.

 

I think it is fantastic how the team is very well organised, and how we have a set UX process. That does not mean that we do not look for new solutions and software that may make our jobs easier. We have the freedom to look at new software, techniques, process changes and are actively encouraged to share these findings with the team

 

It was up to me whether I wanted to undertake a project myself so I chose to get cracking straight away and began to lead my first project. I was tasked with seeing if we could improve the way our customers consume content from Emerald. To find out what we can do as a business to help our customers find the content they’re looking for faster with as little effort as possible. The research began!

 

I began gathering data on existing methods of content consumption by conducting a competitor analysis with both direct and indirect competitors. I analysed the data that was accumulated to see what the best approach for Emerald would be and used all of that collective information to come up with a potential solution. Finally, I began to create a complete roadmap for tasks (with timeframes) of ways in which we can take the data gathered to create the potential solution I devised and showed key stakeholders to get their feedback.

 

Currently, we’re in the process of conducting further research, which may include wireframes and prototypes (the part I love) to get a better understanding of user requirements and to determine if the solution works for our audiences. To be honest, leading this project was daunting. I have never lead a project before, and I had never done any of the tasks that I was given previously. It was a learning experience, which was frustrating at times, but overall it was a worthwhile endeavour that I have learnt a great deal from. If everything was perfect and people knew every task that they started, the UX role would not exist. I am now at a stage where I am taking on multiple projects simultaneously, and completing tasks that I have also never done before. That is something that I am very proud of. Just remember, experiment, fail, learn, grow, prosper and repeat!

 

I would like to finish off this blog post by providing some resources for UX designers, especially if you are new to the whole UX role (like me), but also for UX pros. You can learn about the different processes that businesses go through, all the different terminology and current best practices (which are always changing). I wish you all the best of luck in everything that you do, whether that is UX or something else.

 

  1. https://uxmastery.com/archives/
  2. https://www.uxpin.com/studio/blog/
  3. https://www.invisionapp.com/blog

 

I have already learnt a great deal, and I am incredibly excited to learn more in the future with Emerald.

 


Agile ways of working for the win

This week we launched our new open access (OA) programme, Emerald Reach, to the world. This is the result of months of iterative webpage designs and builds, with lots of cross departmental collaboration to bring Emerald Reach to life.

We have created a portal within Emerald Insight with direct access to specifically browse OA content, and links through to the corporate website, containing the new OA policy information. What looks like a simple, yet sleek set of web pages actually has a lot of experimentation bubbling under the surface. This is the first time our users have been able to browse only open access content through emeraldinsight.com, marking an important shift in the discoverability of accessible content from Emerald Publishing.

Our developers spent a lot of time looking into ways of injecting CSS into our website to really highlight the OA content and improve the user’s experience site wide, not just on the new Emerald Reach pages. With quick turnarounds needed on design changes based on stakeholder feedback, the product team evolved its working in the most agile way yet.

The page is live and the Emerald Reach programme has been communicated to the world, but the story does not end there. There will be continuous user testing and iterative improvements on the pages using Scrum methodology as the offering develops and grows, so please check it out HERE and let us know your thoughts.


Take a peek at our monographs

As our Product digital team work on improving the on Emerald Insight content experience, incremental changes are being released onto the site enhancing its usability, discovery and not forgetting its aesthetic pleasure!

PDF Previews for our latest monographs (and the Transport eBooks Collection’s monographs) have now been enabled on www.emeraldinsight.com, allowing everybody, be they customers or inquisitive parties, the opportunity to view the prelims and first few pages of the first chapter. Not only is this a great way to give people a taste of the title, it allows Google to better index the content, aiding in the discovery for Emerald’s book titles.

 

Additional work is starting soon to improve on this offer by expanding the free preview to the whole first chapter of each new monograph on the site.


Reading full books just got easier

The most recent development for users of book content on is now live on www.emeraldinsight.com in the form of full book download. All non-series book titles published from 2016 onward have the option to download the whole book title in PDF and ePub format. This is in addition to the pre-existing individual chapter download option. Not only will this provide more choice in how end users consume book content, the functionality will aid usage of the content which should make librarians even happier!

 

Work was carried out by the digital team and its business partners from Production and Customer Operations, helping to enable the required changes in the typesetting process, the implementation of the functionality on the site and the end to end testing.

Full Book DL

This development places the latest, highest value book titles in a great position for future product development, especially when considering potential new business models for Emerald’s customers.


Feeding RePEc for content hungry economists

Knowing what researchers need in order to do their job is something that all publishers work towards. A part of that focuses on ensuring content on the subject matter they are researching is discover-able. Over the past year we’ve heard from economists who want to access our abstracts as part of the RePEc service and during the last few weeks we’ve been working to make this happen.

RePEc (Research Papers in Economics – http://repec.org/) is a volunteer maintained project that collects data from various sources, then serves the metadata to users through a variety of different services. Emerald used to provide journal data to the RePEc, but technical issues caused it to fall behind several years ago.

Now, with the new digital teams in place, we are working to get our latest article metadata onto RePEc’s database, with the first steps to make some of our more recent journal metadata available. This is already underway with the creation of a new FTP server, the sourcing and conversion of content which has been successfully tested with a batch of 41 journal titles. Following on from this, we are working to make an automated feed live in January to allow the flow of new journal metadata to reach RePEc faster and with minimal manual intervention. This will then be extended to Book metadata, to better serve the needs of economics researchers.

Watch this space for further updates!