SoftwareONE is our client who helps their customers in managing all aspects of their software portfolio, with the objective of reducing complexity, costs and risks while adjusting to changing business needs. In this case before we started working on the project, we had to participate in tender competing with 12 other global web design agencies. It worked, we were chosen and our main responsibility was to create a website that is fully responsive and compliant with the client’s specific guidelines. How did we do it? Find out by reading the first post from a new series of our mini-case studies.
SoftwareONE helps their clients in managing all aspects of their software portfolio, with the objective of reducing complexity, costs and risks while adjusting to changing business needs. The Software Portfolio Management (SPM) approach covers all aspects of the clients software lifecycle, including commercial, technical and compliance advisory. The company was set up in 1985 and now has abou 2500 workers. SoftwareONE is a global company with offices around the world.
Customer expectations and objective of the project
SoftwareONE wanted to rebuild their website with usage of new technologies and to adapt it to mobile devices. It was essential to develop a new form of communication, so that reaching out to customers in distant countries could be as precise and fast as possible. When it comes to the bottom line, we created a completely new website in four language versions and with a unique features like: page structure and contenct management separalety for each language, the ability to create blocks in a dynamic way , sophisticated filtration in a different sections, or ability to management of the complex selection mechanism including with regard to regions, countries and languages. We had 60 workdays for all that work. We had a very little time to realize this project, but thanks to good cooperation with the Client and work scheduling we have kept the deadlines.
Scope of the project
UX / Design
SoftwareONE prepared templates for most desktop resolution. After thorough analysis of those materials we handed our proposals to improve the service. Additionally, we added missing pages and created views for mobile devices. In total, we created 10 templates with resolution like 1180px, 960px, 720 px and 480px. We also had to consider multilangualism and features like self-confugiration boxes while working on this project (below more about boxes).
Up to this point we approached the full acceptance of all web service views. A considerable amount of time was spent on the benchmark. Customer expectations were discussed on the basis of the examples of other sites and due to the extreme deadline we had two front-end developers working on the project. Throughout the work process, we determined how menus should look like with different resolutions, sliders, types of boxes, various types of specific sections filtering, modal windows and datepickers. At the beginning of the work, SoftwareONE clarified many of its requirements. Some of the solutions and ideas appear during implementation.
This was by far the hardest and also the most interesting phase of the project, because, while working on functionalities, were aware of the clients high expectations. This type of project can be a real proof that Drupal can be customized to any situation. This open source solution, which is still develope, has proven to be perfect for this project, because of diversity of features giving the fexlibility to create service you want. The number of modules, possibilities of alteration or writing something from the scratch helped us to cope with every difficulty that we have encountered. Despite the very busy schedule, the final result met clients expectations and provided high quality service.
The QA works divided between two experienced testers. The website was tested after each stage - front-end, back-end and integration. In order to accelerate the process, we worked on two identically configured servers (stage and production). We used virtual machines in the cloud (cloud server) with guaranteed SLA at 99.8%. Servers are located in Frankfurt am Main and have good connections with Europe, US, Australia and Asia. From the very beginning we worked in an environment that was final for the project - this way we avoided potential problems in duplication of the service.
Until the end of May, we to create four language versions (English, German, Spanish, Portuguese). SoftwareONE received xls file with a proposal of contents structure and together we came up with the solution that is convenient for both parties.
The CDN service was guaranteed by out partner, LH.pl, with CloudFlate. It was really important for SoftwareONE, because of having customers scattered all over the world.
Work on the project is still in progress - we signed the contract for permanent IT support service. At this moment, we are working on creating new functionalities and on the replenishment of contents for other language versions.
Whole project was based on the usage of the boxes as objects where users can place content. It was important that the presentation and embedding of the content was available for every language version. Accordingly, we have created a module for configuring the layout and for arranging the content in a arbitrary way. So users can determine size of particular box and where they want them to be placed. In addition, we enabled management of design and composition of items such as: animation, background, buttons and structure of content. That solution is advantageous for the Client, because it's gives him the flexibility to make changes in boxes content and visual aspect at any time. At this moment we are finishing work on automatic correlation between size of the box and amount of content contained in it.
Website is divided into 6 regions and 55 countries, which can have few language versions. In connection with such arrangement it was important to adjust the filter, so that users can switch language versions in simple and intuitive way. It is worth taking note of the fact that boxes are also the subject to translation thanks to Drupal. Besides, language versions allow to easily adding another by cloning of the content structure of other languages. Most challenging for us was the ability to separate each version so that user could create separate pages with different content and structure.
The division of entitlements was standard, where each user had a defined role with the basic capabilities divided into: live, create, edit, delete.
At the moment we expanded functionality in such a way that it is possible to precisely set permissions for each user. This is due to the fact that you can determine the level of user access to most features of the site, for specific languages or even just to a particular group of objects or to specific pages. In this way, workers from a specific country and in specific departments may have separate access only to content that concerns them.
Technologies we used
- Drupal CMS
- HTML 5
- CSS 3
- JS (and jQuery)
Solutions used under those technologies: dropdown and mobile menu, slider, boxes conversion, events and contact list filtering, content update, modal forms, or datepickers.
20.03.2015 – 29.06.2015
We had a very tight timeline to realize this project. However, thanks to good cooperation with the Client and commitment of our team, we were able to meet deadlines.
Since the end of the basic version of the project to date we are working on new functionalities within the IT service.
“We researched companies all around Europe. We reached out to 10 of those companies and discussed the project that we had in mind and our timeline: 60 days. Merixstudio was one of few companies that ensured us that they could make it happen. Other companies wanted to sacrifice quality for time, or rejected the timeline.”
“The response online time has been much faster since the launch of the new site. For example, our response time in India decreased from 15 seconds to 1.5 seconds. Everyone is happy with the look and feel and with the mobile support. In terms of unique visitors, we had 40,000 hits last month, averaging 4,000 per day. That is a significant increase.”
“They did a great job. We gave them a tight timeline, and they performed well under pressure. It required discipline from them and us in terms of communication, timely feedback, and timely reaction to feedback.”
“Merixstudio was very flexible and open to our opinions. They worked very fast without compromising quality and stuck to tough deadlines.”
“It's not the first project I have done in the IT [information technology] sector. This is the first time I didn't have to send reminders.”
Full review here.
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