At their best, developers should be invisible. Our job is to make the communication between client and customer seamless. But sometimes there are benefits to the client to have direct access to a developer.
ImaginOn is Livability.com's No. 1 children's library in the United States, and that means they see a lot of people through their doors every day — upwards of 600 groups of children visit the facility every year. ImaginOn staff needed a better way to allow these groups to plan their visits. We (the dev team) were able to work directly with the staff in charge of scheduling visits to develop a system that would remedy the most common problems with the old website.
A big issue was that there wasn't a good way for site visitors to see whether the time and date they were requesting was actually available, and furthermore it wasn't obvious that they were making a request, not a reservation. This could lead to unexpected groups showing up — not good! So we approached the request system with the goal of presenting only those times which were actually available.
This meant that we needed to know exactly how they scheduled visits, what activities were available, what age groups an activity was appropriate for, and when those activities were available. In order to avoid missing crucial information, developers were present for meetings regarding this functionality, and often communicated directly with ImaginOn's team. Proofs of concept were presented before any code was actually written to ensure that what we built would meet their needs, and this allowed them to prioritize the features they wanted most in the new system. Once development started, we presented the system to the people who would actually be using it to discover and improve UX issues prior to launch.
By opening up a channel between our client and our developers, we were able to avoid missteps that can push a project over budget, or worse, result in a product that's incomplete or confusing. If you have a site that needs to handle a core part of your business, contact us to find out how we can ensure your needs and wants are met on time and within budget.