Matthew Reidsma

Work Notes

Updates from the GVSU Libraries’ Web Team.
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Failed Renewals and Bad Error Messages

Last week, our UX intern Kathy asked me about the message the OPAC shows when a renewal fails. She had uncovered a lot of questions around renewals, particularly from chat, were the item wasn’t able to be renewed because it had been recalled or the user had already reached the renewal limit. I did some testing this morning, and discovered that the OPAC did show an “error” message, but it was hidden from the patron. Of course, even when I make this “error” message visible, it isn’t super useful. Can you find it below?

More of Sierra's helpful error messages

Since the error message is generated by Sierra, I can’t control where it goes (or what it says, for that matter.) The directional text is not helpful, since nothing is below it. So I wrote a simple function to grab the text, strip off the unnecessaries, and insert an error div where the user would expect to see it. You can see the full code over on Gist (or all of our OPAC scripts on Github). Here’s the new screen:

More of Sierra's helpful error messages

We’ll follow up next month to see if we still have as many chats about renewals, but hopefully this will help explain why some renewals fail. Big thanks to Kathy for spotting this!