Have you visited your journal’s homepage on ScienceDirect recently? If so, you will have noticed quite a change in the look, feel and functionality of the site, to say nothing of the loading time! The journal homepages on ScienceDirect are where many of our authors and readers first interact with the journal brands so it’s key that we get this experience right. This is why our ScienceDirect product team has been busy behind the scenes creating an entirely new user experience where we can showcase the best that our journals have to offer and do so in a manner which is richer, clearer and faster. And it’s clear that the refresh has gone down well as the following user quotes demonstrate:
I like the clean lay out and the fast loading. Good job!
The new look of the site is very awesome. Keep up the good work.
Really practical and helpful for researchers
What have we done, then, and why?
From research, we know that the majority of visitors to the journal homepages on ScienceDirect come in order to research (a topic), read (an article or two) or assess the journal’s quality and scope (with a view to authoring a paper). With such a rich variety of journals, it becomes important to emphasize the journal brand and provide maximum information and utility to the user of the page, whilst at the same time not subjecting them to a long wait or too complicated a structure. The new homepages offer a superior user experience and our aim is to continue the integration with other Elsevier platforms where journal content appears, contributing to a more seamless, personal and social user experience across our portfolio. So what has changed and how does it help your journal?
Benefits for the journal
Generally speaking, the new ScienceDirect homepages offer three sorts of advantage:
Speed – the new pages load approximately 10 times faster than their previous version. In fact, new pages will usually load in 1 second (depending on your own computer and bandwidth).
Ease of use – the structure of the page has changed such that users should spend less effort trying to find what they are looking for, and more time in using what they find to accomplish the tasks they have set themselves.
Journal identity – with the new modern, clean design we position the journal proudly and appropriately in its own context and do so in a way that emphasizes the title’s identity (for example every journal has its own custom background colour, helping to cement its unique identity and stand out in its own way).
But there are other, less obvious benefits as well. For example, the new pages are fully responsive. Whereas the old pages were quite difficult to browse on smaller screen sizes, they now scale well on any screen size, helping to acknowledge – and support – the increasing mobile use of the sites. The distinctive “card” layout on the pages enables users to perform the key tasks of researching (searching within journals), reading (staying up-to-date) and authoring (checking submission information) more quickly and easily.
Better presentation for special issues
When it comes to special issues, the new pages have further benefits to offer. For a start, the pages do not distinguish between traditional and virtual special issues (VSIs) anymore. There is also a special issue archive page which lists all special issues ever published in the journal (whether traditional or virtual). Finally, virtual special issues are more discoverable on search engines thanks to the “blurb” which is now included in the page’s meta data. The new presentation also allows for very nice sharing of VSIs on social media, as the screenshot below attests.
As mentioned previously, we aim to continue developing the new pages and pursue the integration of this content with our other platforms so that users have all the relevant tools right at their fingertips. If you have any feedback or ideas for further development of your journal’s ScienceDirect homepage; feel free to get in touch with your regular Publishing contact. Otherwise, stay tuned to hear more as we continue to drive the best user experience for our users.