The university events calendar has been around since 2004. It has gone through three complete re-codings since its initial release and it about to go through another. Although thanks to PHPSimpl it won’t be too painful. We are revamping how an event is added, not only help the student looking for events but also to get a handle on upcoming events and their needs.
The goal is to gather as much information as possible without being a burden on the user. Right now the required fields are minimal, we just wanted people to use the system and we would worry about the details later. It has worked, year after year events submissions have grown exponentially.
Creating a central events calendar is key to event promotion. We recently added the upcoming event list to the students Pipeline, the site they go to for all student services. Further expanding the reach of the events.
A new feature starts with an idea, the idea that we need to gather more information without being invasive and still adding value. Below is the initial sketch I made of the new work flow. All new ideas start out as a sketch on paper or the whiteboard.
From here it goes for review, we sit on the idea for a little bit to let it sink in and make any modifications. Then propose it to the approval committee and once approved we start on a plan to integrate it into the current system.
With limited resources and the flexibility to work on the development server we first limit the new features to internal IP’s. This helps us test the functionality on the development and production servers without having to replicate the whole system in house. It also gives us a realistic idea of the load it is putting on the server.
Large features usually have a pilot department and we work out all the bugs before releasing to general population but features like this we will use internally for a week or two until we feel they are production ready. Using the features on a daily basis is the best way we have found to get the bugs and annoyances out.
This feature is still in the approval process but as it evolves we will post more info about it. New features are always exciting, I am glad we have a place to talk about our design process and upcoming features. If there is anything you would like to see or have us talk about just drop us a line.