Hello, I am back at it again, this time, with a parallel story to Compete. As it turns out, we have 2 different software suites for fitness clubs. This one is as almost as old as the Internet itself!
In fact... The audience is still that "Type A" personality, only they are getting angry that they are using software that literally has not had a UI update since the late 90s.
So... as I worked on Compete, we also decided it was time to tackle the antiquated i4 product as well. The biggest difference between the two was that this was already browser based. Well, I say browser based but it is more complicated than that. It uses Active X controls and Citrix and is really.. quite simply.. a mess.
Oh yeah... did I mention this one had a even more aggressive time line than Compete? Because the system is on a windows platform that is about to lose support, this project had to be completed by April for risk of PCI compliance issues.
Bootstrap to the rescue... Again In order to save time and for many different reasons, I opted to not only use bootstrap but to also reuse the Compete styles and components I had already built. If you look at the two side by side, they really are quite similar in look, which is a good thing. We want consistency between our products, something that was severely lacking in the past. Yay for code refactoring, am I right?
But before I get ahead of myself... I was able to reuse the research I had already completed for Compete as the audiences were the same. I researched some other task based Bootstrap sites and templates to get an idea of the best layout for the project. And, just like Compete, we decided to base the designs on the desktop application as our customers were already very familiar with it. We would then go back after launch and iterate.
Sprinkle in some Balsamiq... I began mocking up designs in Balsamiq and holding design meetings with Subject Matter Experts. This time however, the subject matter experts were few and far between. It became quite clear that the developers that worked on this product for the past 12 years were more subject matter experts than the managers. I don't mean that in a bad way towards the managers, it was just my observation. The i4 system is pretty complex with many back office configurations. Our software is highly customizable.
Let me check...yes unfortunately, I am still a one man Ux team at my current job, which means I also have to build the sites. And let me add that when I say build, I mean build the entire site out in HTML/CSS and hand the completed code off to developers who then code the back-end (over 60 HTML pages). I designed and coded this in parallel with the Compete project.
Personas', User Stories, Flow Charts, Eventually... The i4 System is not set to release until April and iteration testing will take second fiddle to the Compete software. Compete is after all, the flagship program for us. Once the system is able to be released, extensive user testing will need to be performed. I will update once that happens.
User test first... This still holds true as it did on Compete. This particular project was quite rushed and I see changes being made based on internal opinions that could have potential negative impacts on User Experience. Without proper research to back up these assumptions, it will need to come at a later date when proper iteration can be performed.
Value Add... Clients were starting to leave us to look elsewhere due to the lack of updates this platform has received over the last decade. Since we involved these clients in the redesign process, they have been very pleased with the new designs we have been able to keep many clients who were looking for another software company. These clients stated specifically in many instances it was the new design that is keeping them with us.