WEB APP 'CLASS TRACKER'
Classtracker is a web app used to manage a yearly, one day event called an agricultural show.
An agricultural show has thousands of participants who come from all over the country to take part in livestock, produce and crafts competitions under hundreds of categories. Various awards are given which have a countrywide recognition of excellence.
The agricultural show is run mainly by volunteers and coordinating the show competitions and competition entrants is usually managed by one or two people. Considering organising the one day event begins 6 months before hand and there are several hundred competitions and several thousand entrants they need all the help that they can get.
Classtracker does this and more.
BTW: A class = a competition
My role(s) in this project
I developed entire project with a PHP developer. If I were to simply list the job titles this section would not really make sense. So I will just outline the story of this project.
2014: The brief at the time was simple, they just wanted to be able to take online entries.
After I explained we would need to build a system to create each competition (like products in an online shop) they showed me their existing management tool (a microsoft access database) and asked if I could develop something like that. I told them not only could I develop it but I could vastly improve on it cutting down on DAYS of extra work.
The deciding committee cautiously opted for just the online entry update, but wanted it developed with an option to upgrade if necessary.
We built it using the code we developed for an online shop and integrated it into the bootstrap framework. This cut down on our time and kept the budget low enough to keep the client interested.
As regards UX, for the backend I focused on the workflow and how the competitions could be added to the system easily. It was a vast improvement with speed compared to the ‘access’ system which was still being used to manage the show.
To speed the integration with the access system, the ‘entry’ email notifications were laid out in a way that matched the access system so that the data could be quickly transferred from the online entries, and we added a downloadable pdf of entries that could be cross checked with the ‘access’ system.
But then everything changed
After a successful first year the system had taken in 200 online entries with no major issues and so when the question of the update came up again I arrived at the meeting with a wireframe showing the upgrade that would radically change the way they do things. However that was when I realised that I had to radically change the way I do things.
WHAT I LEARNED : The ‘access’ management database was so fundamental to the process of organising the show, that they could not understand why I wanted to change it. Even though in my mind this new system made more sense in the workflow they simply explained to me that my wireframe would actually slow down their workflow because they were so used to the access systems layout, learning a new system was not viable.
I went back to the drawing board and made a wireframe based on the ‘access’ system and it was PERFECT !
You can still see the wireframe here
Every year since then the system has become more integrated into the show adding more functions which literally used to take days to complete with the old access system.
Every year new functions are requested and I work closely with a PHP developer to seamlessly integrate the new functions. The system is helping coordinate 3 agricultural shows at the moment.
I have made a video of the run-through of the system if you’d like to know more about it.