@OpenAthens announces winner of best publisher #UX award 2020 

Leading single sign-on provider OpenAthens has announced the winner of its inaugural best publisher user experience (UX) award for 2020.

The identity and access management specialist revealed winner Emerald Publishing and its Emerald Insight platform at its 2020 Access Lab conference which took place online on Thursday 19th March.

The publisher won the award after demonstrating how it has put the needs and experience of users at the heart of changes to digital services.

Emerald Publishing recognised a user-centred design was important to meet the needs of their users. The global publisher founded in the UK in 1967 clearly demonstrated how it had worked to get closer to users to understand their needs and user journey. The organisation moved away from an existing vendor to directly manage its platform, employing a dedicated UX team to do this.

Speaking at the conference on the award, Head of User Experience at Emerald Publishing Damian Stewart, said: “It is a great honour to win this award and really validates that we are doing UX in the right way. It’s also recognition of the hard work that the team has put in to build a platform that makes the lives of researchers’ and readers’ easier.”

Emerald Insight’s design makes research that benefits society easy to discover for the widest possible audience. Co-developed with 18 universities from around the world, the uniquely tailored platform is invaluable for academics, librarians and students alike. The new platform was tested and validated by its communities to ensure every design decision made for a simpler and more rewarding experience for discovering social sciences research..

Judges highlighted Emerald Publishing’s simple search and enhanced filter together with crisp, clean UI and simple in-page navigation allowing users to move seamlessly between sections of articles and the various content types as stand-out features. It was also noted that the organisation is working towards latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 – see their accessibility statement

Also taken into account as part of the tough selection process were plans for future development and a commitment to ongoing improvements, specifically the discoverability of content, development of the browse function and user behaviour analytics to give further insights.

Damian Stewart also thanked the many people who had contributed to winning the award, “We would like to give a special thanks to our network of librarians and end users who have continued to provide us with their time, allowing us to follow a user-centred approach, something that is really important to Emerald and what we do here.

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“I’d finally like to give thanks to our partners, particularly 67 Bricks, which has supported us in building this platform and will continue to support us moving forward.”

Head of Digital Experience Sarah Boyd added: “We’re really honoured to win this Best Publisher User Experience Award, among other platforms of such high calibre.

Our mission is to make research accessible, digestible and enjoyable to discover and read. The experience we can offer users on the Emerald Insight platform is critical to achieving that. We've worked hard to try to get this right and it's a continual process as we learn and adapt to what users want.”

The newly established award demonstrates OpenAthens’ ongoing commitment to the evolution of the information industry by providing simple access to knowledge for the benefit of all.

Emerald Publishing’s ‘Emerald Insight’ was a shortlisted finalist alongside Bloomsbury Publishing’s ‘Bloomsbury Digital Resources’ and Cambridge University Press ‘Cambridge Core’.

Commenting on the awards, OpenAthens chief commercial officer Mike Brooksbank said: “From everyone at OpenAthens we’d like to say a big congratulations to Emerald Publishing for winning this award, it is well deserved.

“We’re thrilled to see how well received the Best Publisher User Experience Award has been in its first year and we look forward to continuing the award in the future.”

“OpenAthens is committed to driving innovation in the information industry and to make access to knowledge as easy as possible for end users. With this award we hope to continue raising the awareness and importance of simplifying access to valuable digital resources.”

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