Miesięczne archiwum: Styczeń 2019

Modus operandi of the creative team

The role of teams dealing with the visual side of systems has evolved over recent years. Currently, they are focused on helping users understand where they are, what surrounds them and what to expect from taking a particular action. It is safe to say that these teams play the role of „architects of understanding.”

The creative team is a combination of people specializing in UX, design and frontend. Over the years, many good practices have been created in the field of product presentation, search, filtering, purchasing process and navigation in the online store. All this so that the website could fulfil its business goals. The main elements that build the usability of the e-commerce system are:

– learnability, the level of difficulty of simple tasks performed by a user at the first contact with the system,

– efficiency, the speed of using already known solutions by the user,

– memorability, the ease of recalling the mechanisms of system operation after a longer period of time,

– errors, the number of errors made by the user and how easily they can recover from them,

– satisfaction, how pleasant is it to use the system.

Main methods

In order to create a well-designed e-commerce system based on the above-mentioned elements, the following methods can be distinguished:

– user research (scenarios, tests with the supervisor),

– analysis of user behaviour via analytical tools, e.g. Google Analytics,

– organization of content to support usability. This information architecture consists of: organization, method of content grouping, naming, navigation and searching (formulation of queries that are compared with relevant documents in all information sets).

All methods are based on universal concepts of design and principles regarding human perception.

Supporting tools

There are dozens of tools supporting the work of information architects on the market. Among them, it is worth choosing those most suited to the specifics of the target industry. Among the used tools of the UX team, we can find:

– paper and pencil, which will be used for the fastest possible version of modelling and transferring ideas,

– UXPin, Axure, which will enable modelling in a more structured form,

– Silverback, enabling to perform video tests on users, according to a previously prepared scenario. In this case, both the actions performed in the online store and the facial expressions of the user are registered. Such material is the basis for analysis and allows for the introduction of possible improvements by the project team,

– heat maps, such as CrazyEgg and Hotjar, which are used to diagnose the main areas of interest of users,

– analytical tools like Google Analytics and online store panel helpful in sales analysis.

All the above elements, combined with the intuition, experience, team knowledge and openness to search for new solutions, mean that „architects of understanding” can successfully fulfill their role.

 

The summary of Q4 at i-systems

End of the year – a busy time in almost every company. In those related to e-commerce, perhaps even more intense. How was it like in i-systems and how did we reconcile the work on systems for our clients with product development work? What are the main aspects of our work for next year? You will learn about this and many other interesting things from today’s summary.

New projects as trend determiners

The last three months, and in fact even the entire past year, were marked by systems for B2B companies. They are more and more open to new solutions optimizing their work and enabling new sales opportunities.

Among the projects from the B2B sector in the last quarter of the year, we can distinguish among others: a system created in the PWA (Progressive Web App) standard for a nationwide distributor selling products and systems for cleaning and hygiene. PWA allows you to build a consistent communication for both mobile devices and web browsers. One application means a number of benefits – firstly, the team of developers and the customer himself saves the time, and secondly, its positive impact on the quality of the project.

Other interesting projects were implemented, among others, for the company offering materials for roofing systems, irrigation installations or object floors, as well as the company that imports and distributes household appliances.

It seems that the new year will also be all about B2B solutions – we are already rubbing our hands just thinking about the next challenges that await us.

Strategic development of the organization

In the last quarter, we also focused on integrations, mainly developing connections with such systems as Asseco Softlab ERP, Streamsoft Verto or imoje offered by Silesian bank – ING Bank Śląski. Our next steps are aimed at even deeper integration, and thus, support for more processes in our e-commerce system.

In the last months of the year, part of our team was attending events such as the 6th Retail Channels 360 Forum – Multichannel Grow, Web Summit, Heads of Sale Forum and Fashion Business Congress.

Internal quality improvement projects

The recently adopted model of work in contextual teams is already fully functional. Current teams focus on areas such as: CI, integration, orders, RMA, CRM, PIM, discounts, GUI, Shop App, Allegro and POS.

To illustrate how this model works, we decided to briefly describe the workflow of two contexts. Continuous Integration (CI) team has recently focused on refactoring CI-Builder and Kubernetes Builder, as well as updating GitLab. They also worked on accelerating the system operations and stabilizing PHP images. These activities resulted in the possibility of handling much more traffic. On the other hand, the team responsible for Product Information Management (PIM) improved the functioning of products in the store, and also focused on price lists, product sets and advanced sorting.

What are the i-systems plans for 2019?

The areas of i-systems activities in the new year will be divided into two main categories. The first one will be the globalization of the company’s activities and products. The activities will start in the first quarter of 2019.

The second category will concern the main i-systems core – the software. Works on the development of products are carried out by all the above-mentioned contexts, therefore the development will take place in a parallel and coherent way. The most important activities include further work on PWA, the work on even bigger separation of the frontend and backend.

Such separation will allow creating unattainable, till now, possibilities of scaling the application, and thus achieve greater efficiency with less cost. The plans also include: completing the new API (CRM) and completing the new discount policy module.

We will keep you informed on the details of further works on the blog. If you don’t want to miss the next summary of key development activities of i-systems, we invite you to subscribe to our newsletter.