Dan and Eileen brought their biggest ambitions to the Codal team in the hopes that our time-tested product design strategy would accommodate the countless hurdles involved in the enormous feat that they wished to accomplish. The Showroom Squared platform had to be especially sophisticated in order to achieve the delicate balance required to cater to three vastly different user types, and to do so in a way which was less complex than the cumbersome process the platform would replace.
As with all the most complex Codal projects, we felt Showroom Squared deserved to embody the most cutting edge and forward thinking design principles around today.
To achieve this, we conducted several of Codal’s collaborative innovation and brainstorming sessions known as iDays.
Each iDay saw the coming together of client and designer in an effort to develop the innovative approach that would launch this complex system into the spotlight.
By involving the client’s unique perspective in the UX process, we were able to take a collective 35+ years of experience in the furniture showroom industry, and turn it into a set of process innovations that few other collaborations could have produced.
The Showroom Squared iDay sessions produced the mechanical ideation that would go on to drive some of the project’s most practical and usable features.
For example, in order to accommodate brand manufacturers, design professionals, and the showrooms that sell the furniture, Dan and Eileen knew the system would have to avoid complexity as much as possible.
Dan and Eileen’s intimate knowledge of each of the three markets gave the ideation team the insight to create a set of independent portals for each user type.
Dan and Eileen’s idea aimed to revolutionize an otherwise complex and varied process by introducing the ability to track customer patterns, and market directly to designers based on analytics data, while eliminating a number of barriers to transparency and sales.
But the challenge didn’t end there. As with any landmark innovation, the largest hurdle is always user reluctance. Codal’s UX designers had to design Showroom Squared in a way which wouldn’t have come as a complete shock to the existing user base.
Codal’s UX designers addressed this critical concern by centralizing the process for furniture design collaboration in a way which shows the value of doing so through direct interaction— i.e. turning three tasks the old way into one task on the new platform.
In doing so, the Codal design team once again showed their unparalleled expertise in balancing beautiful minimalism with incredibly sophisticated user-centered functionality.
Given the high complexity of the project, we had to build it with the most reliable technologies around. This was especially true for the most widely used portion of Showroom Squared — the web portal.
In order to handle thousands of simultaneous queries from multiple vendors, showrooms, and clients, the back end of the website was built on Django, an incredibly stable Python framework, and supplemented with PostgreSQL.
Django powers hundreds of well-known sites, and is renowned worldwide for the ease with which readability, collaboration, and implementation are handled. PostgreSQL lends its blazing fast query engine to Showroom Squared to make performance concerns a thing of the past.
The front end of Showroom Squared’s web portal was built with a combination of two industry-leading technologies: Bootstrap and Angular JS. Bootstrap is the foundation for a remarkable number of websites, and lends its rapid prototyping advantages to Showroom Squared in the form of continuous improvements from Codal. Angular JS is Google’s own advanced front end framework, and is the technology behind Showroom Squared’s stunning multi-tenant UI.
Adding to the complexity of the project, Codal built out a fully-featured iOS application with complete cross-platform integration and data carryover. Codal’s iOS engineers laid the foundation for the app in Apple’s own Swift programming language, an objective-C based native language developed with speed in mind.
QR code scanning was baked into the application natively, by utilizing the smartphone camera to access the very same database built into the web portal, and pull up the product catalogue. This powerful integration demonstrates that there are virtually no limitations on the ingenuity Codal’s clients can expect from our engineers.
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