In my last blog, I discussed how flexibility with every client helped us get ahead of the competition in the early days of Infigo. However, this came at a cost of an increasingly bad user experience (UX) for both our growing customer base and our growing team.
In the early days of developing the Infigo platform, we used an older Bootstrap framework, which was very limiting. Responsiveness on different devices wasn’t a big factor. However, the print industry had gotten to a point where it was a significant factor. So our first aim was to update the visual framework underlying everything. And for that, we went with the bulma.io framework, which was more up-to-date and a lot more flexible.
Intuitive appearance settings
In line with this framework development and implementation, we also developed appearance settings in our system. The appearance setting is an easy way to quickly change the global colours of UI elements within a storefront. With the Bootstrap framework, you had to individually target and write hundreds and hundreds of lines of CSS to basically change all button colours, text colours and the like. Now you can go into our appearance settings in admin and just select your primary colour, your secondary colour, and you have a couple of visual choices. All of this was only possible because of the framework update.
You basically create consistency between interaction types, in different locations, where the same data type is being amended, or the same UI is being interacted with.
Now, once we had this framework, it meant you don’t have to create new themes to have different sites, you can just reconfigure one theme into a million things.
We created this mindset that being able to configure one flexible is better than having a lot of fixed ones – where every customer would still need a small change here, a small change there or a bigger change here, a bigger change there.
No code content management
The next element was enabling the management of site content without any kind of coding knowledge. This meant users could create site content or structure by using form-based controls and building blocks in any content location, that you can interact with throughout the admin.
So, let’s say on the homepage you want a couple of content sections between feature categories and feature products, for SEO reasons. With the old framework, you needed to write HTML and CSS to make it look decent. But now with the new content management system, you can add a section, a title, or a subtitle, and configure their styling within the existing options using a few clicks.
This generates HTML totally within the framework. So, all your spacings, all your colours, everything on your page is already preconfigured based on appearance settings in your storefront. This is extremely useful for organisations and products which have strict brand guidelines.
You just configure them and just reuse those as your inner building blocks. Then you just have input fields for a title, for an image, for whatever you want – it won’t break, it won’t be out of line, it will be exactly how you need it to be.
Additionally, the framework is extremely friendly to coders so if a customer has the in-house resource they can push it even further.
Invent – the Adobe InDesign plugin
Another big development was Invent, which is an InDesign plugin. This enables printers to prepare most of the file that will be personalised by their end users in InDesign and then export it into our MegaEdit editor. This is a lot more efficient than creating the file in MegaEdit, primarily because InDesign is the tool most used by printers and designers.
And by creating Invent, we’ve managed to cut down file creation and export time by 80%.
So, while we strive to have all of this new UX and create consistency, we are not taking any of the options and flexibility away. If anything, we’re adding more flexibility, but now we have the underlying framework and the underlying structure to allow us to do it with a good user experience and with good consistency.
Benefits for the user
All these improvements mean our users can create higher-quality storefronts and set up products a lot quicker. Because of the better user experience, they are more confident in using more of the features. This means better products for our customers, better products for us, so it’s value added all around.
Are we done?
No, by no means. We are just getting started. There are a million things we still want to and will improve upon. Even now there are big and small changes being done on a daily basis.
If you would like to find out more about how the Infigo solution can help streamline your print operations, then you can contact us today for a free 1-on-1 demonstration.