Meet the team: Elizabeth Chesters

elizabeth chesters

Name: Elizabeth Chesters

Job title: UX Specialist

Intro bio (background): 

I’m Elizabeth, a user experience designer at Mendeley! My background is in Computer Science, and I’m a developer turned designer after studying Human-Computer Interaction. I’ve worked as both a developer and designer in a range of companies, moving from the agency and start-up life to in-house. Originally, I’m from the North of England, Manchester and have been braving London for the last 3 years.

When did you join Mendeley?

I joined Mendeley on the 18th December, 2017. It was definitely an interesting point of the year to join with most people on holiday!

What do you love most about your job?

I love the constant challenges of being a designer. There are so many ways to solve even the smallest of problems, which could actually have a huge impact on our users’ lives. Being a part of Mendeley, I’m beginning to understand the impact my design has on people’s lives and careers and how important my work is. I may not be finding a cure for cancer or training the next generation of ballerinas, but it feels amazing to be supporting those out there who are doing amazing work.

What book are you currently reading?

At the moment I’m studying how to be more inclusive with my designs, so, I’m reading A Web For everyone by Sarah Horton and Whitney Quesenbery. It’s fascinating how much it expands your thinking. For example, designing for someone only capable of using your product with one hand, whether that be because of a permanent loss of limb, they’ve broken their arm or they’re a parent holding a child. Anyone can be impaired at any moment!

What’s one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

The feature I want people to know about is the Watched Folders feature. This is where can setup a folder on your computer to be ‘watched’, in your Mendeley settings. Mendeley then automatically syncs every document you put into the folder. This means you can download documents onto your machine and you don’t have to manually drag and drop everything into your Library.

How would you explain your job to a stranger on a bus?

I always explain my job as “making the web and technology less rubbish and more friendly for people.” I try to understand why people become frustrated because Alexa doesn’t understand them or discover how products should look at night when people are up late.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

My users are probably the most exciting part of my job because of how varied they are. Working with new people every week keeps me on my toes. Every week we invite 8 users into the office, where we ask users to show us how they use Mendeley and gather feedback on our new products and designs. Each user has such unique research topics and intricate ways of using the same tool, which is fascinating to see.

What is your hidden talent?

I love learning languages and I can welcome and introduce myself in over 10 languages, including Arabic, British Sign Language, Sinhalese and Portuguese! My favourite part of coming into work in the morning is greeting each team member in their native language. People really appreciate the effort and it also helps break the ice when users come in for user research sessions.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

Every day I’m learning how screen readers work. Some screen readers actually pay attention to the visuals on the page. So, VoiceOver for Mac will group elements based on their visual style and if they look similar, like 5 words which look like 5 tags.

If you publish a paper, but nobody reads it, does it make a difference?

Get your work noticed! Adding your publications to your profile helps get your work found. More and more often, people aren’t looking to journal table of contents or library catalogs when they search for research. They’re watching what their friends and colleagues bookmark on social networks or add to groups on Mendeley, and they’re searching Google Scholar. In order to get your work noticed, you need to be present where people are looking. There are a few ways you can do this, but like many things, just showing up counts for more than you would think. Simply having an account and connecting to your colleagues online can position you to get found more often, but also to find more interesting things you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. With hundreds of papers being published in my field every week, I couldn’t keep up using a pure search strategy.

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Mendeley Web redesign goes live

If you knew the old site, you’ll certainly have noticed already! The main color used to be dark blue with some red-brownish hues. Our goal with the redesign was to make it brighter, airier and less cramped, with the main colors being silver-grey and deep red. We also added better explanations and illustrations of what Mendeley actually is and does!

Here’s the new homepage (the screenshot is actually matched to each visitor’s OS – e.g. if you’re using Linux, the screenshot will show Mendeley Desktop on Ubuntu):

New Mendeley homepage

And here’s the new “How it works” page, which replaces our old “Tour” page.

how-it-works

The redesign isn’t completely finished yet – we’ll be updating many more parts of the site soon, while also adding new features. Please let us know if you catch bugs or design niggles we’ve missed!

What do you think of the new look? Is it pretty enough to want to make you kiss your screen?