I have spent the last couple of weeks developing the new tools and navigation bar for IngentaConnect. Leigh's recent post covers our reasons for making all these changes very thoroughly. It was down to me to implement them.
I use the Ingenta templating system every day but the speed at which I was able to create the new content needed amazed me. I was able to create other display formats such as print, BibText and EndNote for pages by simply adding a parameter and creating a new template file for each page with the right name, the templating system takes care of the rest.
Similarly adding things like OpenURL links to the page was a matter of finding the information available to a given page and working out how that fits into the OpenURL format.
All this relatively easy development let me concentrate on the layout and functionality of the interface. Right from the start it was obvious there was going to be too much information to comfortably fit into the limited space of the right hand column on the site. I needed to come up with a method that allowed the user to quickly find the information that they need without too many mouse clicks and without resorting to “hunting and pecking” to borrow a typing term.
Having a system that was designed from the ground up to make working with the core elements of the presentation layer of a site as easy as possible means that it is possible to concentrate on how all these elements work together in creating an interface for the client. The implementation becomes almost secondary to the functionality.