2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Artstor as a live service. Throughout the year we will introduce you to the people behind our organization and the roles they play in supporting Artstor’s mission to use digital technology to enhance scholarship, teaching, and learning.
Requests for new features for the Digital Library may come out of conversation with a user, a committee meeting, or by keeping an eye on what everyone else is doing, but the implementation should always happen in the same way.
It takes many hands to turn an idea for a feature into something our users can see. First, we need to document what the feature is. The product strategist along with the interaction designer will document the requirements and user flow. She’ll get input from the stakeholders (whoever asked for it) and the developer (whoever is going to build it). If the feature is a big one, it will be broken up into phases.
Next the designer explores the interaction, behavior, and visual design of the feature. For something small, it might be a simple wireframe. For a more complicated feature, the design would be detailed drawings or a working prototype.
Along the way, others are able to give feedback and the designer makes revisions. Our staff acts as stand-ins for our users and makes sure that the design is helping our user accomplish what we set out for them in the beginning.
Then the documentation and design go to the developer (or developers) and the thing gets made. The developer with then alert the Quality Assurance (QA) team that the feature is ready to be tested. QA will look at the feature from every angle and make sure it works properly all of the time and under varied conditions. QA will identify any bugs and alert the developer. The developer will alert QA when they’re fixed. And so on, until all the bugs are gone.
(Sometimes a new feature requires a database change and our Database Administrator needs to get involved and things get even more complicated…)
After a final review of the feature on a test version of our site, we’ll schedule downtime for a release (at night when most of our users aren’t working), and our developers will have it go live. The QA team is on hand to do a final sanity test to make sure everything is A-OK. Then the User Services and Communications teams spread the good word about what new thing we have for you!
Mary Finer, Product Strategist
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