Photo Credit: Worldreader
When I took over the Worldreader Book Tool project from student volunteers in July 2015, the development scope had expanded from the initial idea for a simple book catalog search tool to booklist curation. One of the volunteers had created an unwieldy login and admin system on top of the database, without consideration for an older login and admin system that had been used to build and manage the database.
The additional admin interface was creating bad data and had broken important functionality in the other system. Additionally, a misconfigured Elasticsearch implementation had led to search results regularly out of sync with the database (missing books and book covers) or irrelevant to the search term.
My first step was to remove the login interface, streamline the booklist creation system, and open up booklist creation securely to the public.
I added territory restrictions, device compatibility, and copy limits tracking to the search and booklist interfaces (staff had previously tracked this information through spreadsheets or memory), and coded a fast and accurate new search in Ruby on Rails.
I greatly improved the tags search interface, decreased page load times, made all pages SEO-friendly and mobile responsive, and added book detail pages and previews, territory restriction maps, color-coded reading levels support, shareable search and booklist links, and a link shortener.
Visual design work on this project included default book covers inspired by West African symbols called Adinkra and on-brand font face, color, layout, and animation changes.