The client had an existing site, which was basically an e-commerce site. Users could design visuals and write slogans for a few products like t-shirts, mugs, coasters, mouse pads, with the help of 'Artist', a flash application, and purchase those products using a shopping cart.
When the customer flow increased, both, the front end of the website and also the Administrator back office, were found inadequate and needed upgrading. The client wanted to enhance the overall website. They wanted the following to be implemented in the upgraded website:
- A new 'Artist' with more products like Calendars, Greeting Cards, Photo Book, Key Chains, Aprons, etc.
- More user friendly features.
- Significantly improve the shopping cart and product shipping features.
- Implement various features for the user, like, order tracking; history of designs made; activity reports; reward points for users for sales and creativity; creating widgets; users maintaining their own design galleries, etc.
- Implement more Administrator interfaces to keep track of all the user records.
The client wanted all these changes implemented without changing the technologies and versions of the software and the basic structure of the site.
DilSeBol - Now:
A new interface designed for the 'Artist' using Flash with ActionScript 2.0:
- The Administrator has been given an interface to add new categories of products whenever required.
- All details of each product category: types, styles, sizes, etc, are uploaded dynamically in the 'Artist' interface from the server.
- The user can switch easily between one product category to another without changing their customized design.
- Every time the user switches to another product, the Flash retrieves the corresponding details from the server.
- The user now has more flexibility when creating his design on a product using the 'Artist'.
New features added: curving of text, rotating a design and multi-line text, etc.
- Users can get pre-defined images, listed by categories, like Anniversary, New Year, Valentine's Day, etc. This is constructed dynamically in Flash with ActionScript 2.0.
Other new features:
- 'Track your order' page: shows the status of the user's order.
- 'History' page: the history of various designs made by the user.
- 'Rewards' page: the user can see the accumulated points, points redeemed when purchasing a product and the balance available points.
- 'Manage Designs' page: the user can create and manage his/her personal gallery of their designs. These galleries can be viewed by all users.
Challenges faced and surmounted:
- Since we had to upgrade the site with many new features without altering the basic structure of the project, we had to first understand the way of the earlier coding.
- Dealing with the database was also challenging since UNIX timestamps was used for many fields, particularly for IDs.
- The client wanted the user to be able to curve the text inputs. Since text curving tool is not available in Flash as default, we faced and overcame issues like character spacing, width, height and alignment.
- The client wanted the work area dimensions to change according to the product and type of the specific product. To implement this, we faced and resolved issues related to alignment when the user finished her/his design and switched to another product.
- PHP, MySQL
- FLASH, ActionScript 2