Although Knovel didn’t have a booth on the exhibition floor this year, Diana Bittern, director of product management, still had plenty of meetings lined up about the company’s online technical resources for engineers.
For the past two years, Knovel has been refocusing on what customers truly want, says Bittern. “We found that librarians screamed the loudest” about some disruptive issues with the Knovel site in the recent past, so Bittern and her team went back to the drawing board after conducting observation sessions with users. The results, she says, helped fine-tune the site’s contextual design and became the drivers for further innovation.
Knovel Labs, one of the spinoffs, gives users a chance to try out product enhancements in beta before their release. “Knovel Labs has been a great success,” she says. “Librarians like to see and touch the products in the development phase, and we welcome their feedback.”
Knovel’s interactive search capabilities within the site’s graphs and tables are a key differentiator between them and the competitors, and it was important to make the entire search experience easier for the users.
“This year has been the year for personalization with our launch of the new My Knovel that lets engineers and engineering students collect and save their knowledge over time,” says Bittern. It gives users the chance to save searches, links, and graphs involved in their work for future reference, along with frequently used titles, content, and queries that can be organized into specific folders.
Next year, she says, Knovel is gearing up for a year of collaboration and community so users can share and exchange information. In the meantime, the Knovel team is rebuilding its infrastructure with a revamped interface and an improved user registration system with a single sign-on option for societies and academic institutions.
“We went back to the drawing board to help engineers get their answers faster,” says Bittern. “Our long-term goal is still to make engineers more productive.”