OpenAthens announces finalists for its Best publisher UX award 2021

Leading single sign-on provider OpenAthens has announced the finalists of its Best Publisher User Experience (UX) award for 2021.

The identity and access management specialist called for applications from online publishers in October 2020, looking at how publishers demonstrated how they have put the needs and experience of users at the heart of changes to digital services.

After careful deliberation, judges decided that nkoda and Health Data Research are this year’s finalists.

Founded in 2015, the London-based digital sheet music library, nkoda, has a product and user-centric approach and philosophy. nkoda has been selected as a finalist because of the organisation’s product vision and how this has been formed to serve and benefit its end-users. Since its inception, nkoda’s product roadmap has been shaped by the musicians that use the digital library for maximum positive impact.

User experience is integral to how Health Data Research delivers its Innovation Gateway. Judges were impressed with Health Data Research’s understanding of the needs from its multiple communities, as well as the dedicated six-week user research workstream that the organisation deployed for its Innovation Gateway. Throughout the project Health Data Research has kept its users engaged through regular user testing sessions and dedicated workshops earning the institution a place as finalist. 

This year’s judging panel includes a range of information industry experts – OpenAthens’ marketing manager, Jane Charlton; executive director at NISO, Todd Carpenter; assistant director at GALILEO virtual library, Russell Palmer; and director of standards and technology at STM Publishing, Eefke Smit. They are joined by returning judge, trainer, and consultant in UX research and design, Andy Priestner.

Health Data Research and nkoda will now present the judges with evidence of learner and researcher attitudes, reactions to changes in the user journey and overall experience in audio visual and/or written format.

To secure the title of Best UX Publisher, both organisations will also need to show the judges how they have measured success against goals and objectives.

The winner will be announced at the virtual Access Lab 2021 event in March.

Lorenzo Brewer, CEO of nkoda commented: “Our mission at nkoda is to help musicians reach their goals, and we create tools and services to help them on that journey. Being recognised for our UX work by one of our most important partners, is a lovely thing for the team and something we are very grateful for. We hope to succeed in the final stage and look forward to working with all of our partners this year.   

Monique Silva, Health Data Research’s UX lead said: “A big thank you to the judges and OpenAthens for picking us as one of the finalists at this years’ Best UX Publisher Awards. The team have worked hard to put user experience at the heart of everything we do, and it’s wonderful to see these efforts recognised.

Commenting on the UX Awards finalists, OpenAthens commercial director, Jon Bentley said: “We’d like to thank everyone who applied for the Best UX Publisher Award 2021 and say congratulations to nkoda and Health Data Research on being selected as finalists. 

“We’re thrilled to see how well received the Best Publisher User Experience Award has been in its second year. Driving innovation forward in the information industry is at the heart of what OpenAthens does – with this award we get to celebrate and raise awareness of the fantastic efforts that publishers go to improve user experience and grant faster access to knowledge.

“Good luck to nkoda and Health Data Research, I’m looking forward to seeing who our judges pick as the winner in March!”

OpenAthens invites people to register for the webinar where nkoda and Health Data Research will present their findings, successes and how they have taken steps to improve the user experience. This insightful webinar looks to give a taste of how these two organisations have put users at the heart of their services.

Register here: