Pressbooks Product Updates [May 2022]

May was a busy month for all of us at Pressbooks, just as it was for for the many educators and students we support who finished up their academic terms! Here’s a rundown of some changes we released last month:

Improved user dashboard:

We’ve been thinking about our new user onboarding experience lately, and focused a lot of our attention last month on improving the new user experience. If you’ve logged into a Pressbooks network recently, you’ve probably noticed a few changes to the user dashboard:

The first time a new user logs into their account, they will now see a ‘Get started with Pressbooks’ widget which informs them about the Pressbooks Directory and offers them clear ‘Create a book’ and ‘Clone a book’ action steps. If the network has a contact email listed, they will also be given instructions for how to contact their network manager:

If a user already is already a user in one or more books on the network, they will see a simplified version of this message (the example below shows the display when there is no contact email set for a network):

Second, we’ve added a simple ‘Need help?’ widget that provides several avenues where a new user can find answers to common questions or get support for any problems they’re encountering. As with the get started widget, it will also display the network’s contact email if one has been set:

Network managers can update the ‘Contact Email’ value via the Aldine theme customizer (see our guide for more details: Customize Your Network’s Appearance – The Pressbooks Network Manager's Guide).

Finally, we’ve reduced the number of posts displayed in the RSS feeds displayed on the dashboard from 5 to 3 to reduce the amount of space they occupy on the dashboard.

These changes are just the beginning of several more improvements we’d like to make in the coming months. We’ve just hired Michelle Weremczuk as our first dedicated UX/UI Designer on the Pressbooks team, and can’t wait to share more of the improvements she’ll help us implement to make Pressbooks work better for everyone!

Better documentation

As part of our focus on new user onboarding in May, we continued to pay special attention to our self-service documentation for users, network manager, and open source developers. Thomas Wiedeman, our Support and Documentation Specialist, continued his work on our User and Network Manager guides (described in our March 2022 update) by ensuring that the guides don’t contain any broken links or outdated references, adding redirects for old or deleted resources, and making sure that we had easy to understand documentation for several of the most commonly asked support questions that didn’t have existing documentation.

We also made several improvements and updates to our documentation site for open source users/developers at You’ll now notice two new major sections there: Developer Guides and User Guides, both of which had all relevant pages refreshed and updated so that they’re more accurate.

Results for LMS improvements

We also released a few improvements to Pressbooks Results for LMS. We added support for LTI launch links which lead to the network root page and user dashboard and tightened up security by disallowing the Pressbooks login page to be displayed within iframes. If you have questions about to use the new launch links (in an LMS placement, for example), please feel free to contact premium support.

Bug fixes

We also released bug fixes for a handful of issues. We fixed a minor bug that was affecting LTI setting choices in individuals books when they were updated by users with the book administrator role, another bug that was preventing network managers from seeing the list of admin users and performing bulk delete actions from the book list page, and fixed the display of the ‘Alegreya Sans’ font when selected as the header or body font in the McLuhan and Malala themes.

June product webinar

We look forward to seeing those of you who can make it at our next monthly product update (June 30th from 2-3pm ET), where you’ll hopefully have the chance to meet Michelle and hear more about recent documentation improvements from Thomas, among other things. We hope you enjoy a pleasant and restful June!