A UX-driven development process
The UX process in FOLIO is built to focus on the needs of the end users from start to finish. We strongly believe that this is the optimal way to create software that is useful, simple and elegant. The process starts with defining an overall goal for the system itself as well as for each sub-functionality of the system. Then UX designers start researching, engaging in a dialogue with users; sketching out concepts in close collaboration with users, and lastly design the actual interfaces with an ongoing dialogue with users and other relevant stakeholders. This all makes for a strong vetting of both concepts and actual user interfaces before one single line of code is written.
A global, open, multi-team structure
The team structure in FOLIO reflects the underlying technological approach: FOLIO is not a small set of a few monolithic ILS-modules, but rather a sophisticated web of micro-apps that all serve a very specific purpose, and that are all built to exist in an eco-system that is open, evolving and nuanced in functionality and usage.
In contrast to building big, monolithic ILS modules, each area of the library will rely on many small apps that fulfil the needs of that particular area. The apps used will not share their code, but they will be built with the purpose of interacting heavily with other apps, APIs and to function in different contexts for different purposes. FOLIO is thus structured in a way to support this: A UX lead + team designs and manages the FOLIO platform and UX framework, while separate teams focus on various areas like acquisition, resource management, circulation, etc.
Each UX team in the FOLIO project is in contact with the others, making sure everyone is headed in the same direction, and creating a synergy effect where one team can make use of the innovations of another as soon as it is invented. All UX teams work with end users, product owners, developers and, where relevant, vendors, to make sure the apps they design are meaningful and easy to use.
To achieve good UX, the FOLIO UX team is acutely aware that it cannot be achieved unless everyone involved in creating the system and the apps are focused on the end users and their needs. Thus a big part of the UX process is making sure everyone can stay informed and engaged in how the design evolves and improves.
An essential part of turning the UX designs into reality is making sure there is a strong link between design and development. For this reason, we strive to have a UX developer—a programmer with strong UX sensibilities—available on each development team.