Hamilton-based Company-X has rebuilt and streamlined tracking and scheduling app Magnetize and taken it from the desktop into the cloud.
The six month redesign and rebuild project, assisted by a referral from The Instillery, allowed Pukekohe-based Magnetize to launch new business management software allowing client businesses to more easily schedule and track people and equipment "from quote to invoice".
Magnetize is used by a wide variety of industries including civil engineering, construction, earthworks, hire, rental and transport companies for documenting, quoting and scheduling, and is integrated with accounting software Xero for invoicing.
The company spent seven years and millions of dollars with offshore software developers building its business management software. However, while users loved the features, they found the desktop app complicated and cumbersome and the mobile app unusable.
The Instillery recommended Magnetize first undertake a user experience and interface review and suggested user experience-specialist Briana Christey to do the job.
“The purpose of the UX review was to assess the existing desktop application, website and marketing collateral to identify opportunities to improve engagement, sales conversions and adoption of the product,” Christey said.
Magnetize wanted to build a world-class product that was driven by clients and solutions for their pain points.
“Overall, we found that Magnetize user application was feature-rich, but rated low in usability and aesthetics, affecting overall satisfaction and adoption of the product," Christey said.
Review over, Magnetize returned to The Instillery for advice.
“We were talking constantly with The Instillery general manager Richie Jenkins about our frustrations, our desire to bring development back to New Zealand and to partner with the best,” said Magnetize chief executive Paul Lyons.
The Instillery had an informal referral arrangement with Company-X based on the long-term friendship between Jenkins and Company-X co-founder David Hallett. Jenkins recommended Hallett's company to execute the rebuild.
“We had development goals but just as important to us was a good cultural fit," Lyons said.
That fit had to centre on honesty, integrity and trust-based relationships as well as accessibility.
Company-X senior software architect Luke McGregor examined the existing software and recommended a replacement approach as the best and most cost-effective way of resolving the usability issues, security flaws and modernising the technology.
“I found UX issues scattered across pretty much every aspect of the application that meant we would have to rethink every page,” McGregor said.
Replacement was the most cost-effective way of resolving the the problems and modernising the technology.
“At that point, when you've got that much modification you want to do ... it's cheaper to just start again,” McGregor said. “That's kind of a sad reality of it.”
Company-X led a full product development, design and build of an entirely new, easy to use, version of Magnetize in the cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Exhaustive interviews with the Magnetize team behind the original concept as well as existing and prospective users was undertaken and feedback was collected at every project stage. Long, linear forms needed to create a job and multiple compulsory fields to input data were a real headache for administrators and slowed the pace of work.
The core of the approach was to humanise the experience adopting a user-centred approach and thinking about real people, going about their workday using this software, Christey said.
This was accomplished with user personas: "Lisa" the office administrator, "Steve" the operations manager, "Jase" the worker and “Les” the owner who were kept front of mind as the new software was designed and developed.
“At times we didn't always know what we were building. Importantly throughout the project we stayed focused on the Magnetize clients and their pain points and knew that if we employed the best methods or the right methodology, we would be on the mark," Christey said.
In the new Magnetize, users can now create a job in a few seconds through simplified fields and information has now been clustered into logical groups.