Wallsend People’s Centre desperately needed a system to schedule, organize and analyse room booking within their large building. The system had to deal with 12 rooms ranging from 2 – 250 people, up to 48 bookings per day and catering/room requirements.
It was clear that the current system of paper based diaries and an online calendar was being stretched to breaking point.
What happened next
We developed a bespoke web application for multi-user access from the admin staff booking the rooms to clients being able to accept quotations. We were in constant communication throughout the project with the client, moulding the system around their business needs to help make their business activities more efficient. This meant time could be spent on concentrating on more important activities, instead of resources being used on administrative tasks.
One example of this, is that we developed and integrated PDF functionality so at the end of the working day the system would automatically compose a PDF report for the next day and would be emailed to the appropriate members of staff. A member of staff would be able to easily print off this report, rather than manually composing it. This report would contain all of the information for the porters, to enable them to set up the rooms for the next day and help them with their planning.
To operate efficiently and effectively on data that is stored within the system the data needs to be accurate. User errors are usually the main cause of inaccurate data and this is commonly referred to as ‘garbage in, garbage out’. To combat this, we implemented a robust front end validation framework that would react to user error in realtime. This means that the page would not refresh and the errors would be captured before the data is submitted, only allowing the data to be submitted once the errors have been corrected.
We knew the system that we had implemented was a success, when one of the members of staff at the launch presentation started to cry about how much it would improve her work life!
Notes from our Technical Director
The emphasis on this project was speed of delivery while ensuring the functionality worked perfectly first time. We started with a specification and wireframing session to map out the system, including all primary and secondary functionality.
As with any project, time was a factor, so we opted to use a PHP framework called CakePHP. This allowed a working prototype to be delivered in less than a month. The system was finished from start to finish in less than 2 months. Due to the system being developed in a modular fashion, if the client wishes to extend it in the future it would be done easily with minimal refactoring.