At Oliasoft we aim to offer a world-class user experience. A key aspect of achieving this is through the user interface (UI) of our products.
That's why we've been delivering a major UI upgrade over the last year. This work is ongoing, through continuous incremental improvement, and is driven by the needs of our customers.
Oliasoft has many software products and modules, and our portfolio is growing fast to include more features. To support this, our UI strategy goals include:
- faster time-to-market for new product features
- lowering costs of software development and maintenance
- consistency of user experience and brand across our products
- usability improvements
- efficient code reuse strategy
- delivery of robust, high-quality software
- tighter feedback-loop between customers and our development team
UI Upgrade Achievements
We've achieved many great enhancements since starting our UI upgrade journey.
- complete overhaul of the 'look and feel' of our applications to match our brand
- redesign of navigation and layouts
- standardisation of base UI components throughout our products
- broad adoption of code reuse in our UI layer
- reduction in duplicate implementations and component variants
- resolution of performance issues in some base components
- removal of legacy technology and dependencies
- modernisation of tooling and workflows
- better internal technical documentation
- rapid application development
- better cohesion between our internal and external development teams
The best way to illustrate the impact of our achievements is to show a side-by-side comparison of our new WellDesign product next to an old version. This really shows how far we've progressed in a year!
WellDesign UI after upgrade:
WellDesign UI before upgrade (for comparison only - this old version is no longer in use):
Common UI Platform
A key aspect of achieving our goals has been through developing a Common UI Platform: a library of standardised, reusable interface components, together with a reference architecture. This helps to support the UI requirements of all our products, and allows our application developers and domain experts to focus their time on value delivery to customers.
Our approach here is influenced by industry-leading software practices like product-line engineering (PLE), which provide guidelines on "engineering a portfolio of related products in an efficient manner".
To support our application developers with great documentation, we've adopted StoryBook, a tool for documenting UI components by providing reference examples that are functional, but decoupled from the products. This also helps us test our UI components comprehensively, including the more unusual edge-cases.
We work together with skilled internal and external developers, and an independent UI specialist and designer. We're always looking to expand our competence in these areas, including in design, user experience (UX), usability engineering and accessibility.
Open Source Strength
Like many modern software companies, we benefit from re-using open source software like React to build our products. We use industry-leading technology that enables us to develop products faster.
At Oliasoft we also give back to the community. In 2020 we released our base UI components as an open source software package. This benefits us by increasing opportunities for peer review, feedback, and voluntary contributions, leading to better quality. It's also a great incentive for our developers (including when hiring), and helps bring our internal and external teams closer together.
In developing our UI platform and our products, we operate an iterative, incremental development process with frequent releases and continuous deployment. We follow agile and lean software development practices.
This also means we work regularly on improving our tooling and processes.
Putting the User First
At Oliasoft we seek to continuously improve our products. We value your feedback, and if you have suggestions, improvement ideas, feature requests, or have found a bug, please contact us.
Mark is a full-stack software engineer at Oliasoft who specialises in web applications. He is currently leading a major upgrade of the user interface across the product portfolio. Prior to joining Oliasoft, he worked internationally for Rolls-Royce in the marine sector, on ship control, automation and monitoring technology.