The Early Days
When David and I first started working on Cab9, user interface was sort of my responsibility. In our first meeting about the customer portal we were presented with the existing solutions in the market. We figured that they did a poor job at communicating with the users.
The design and engineering were at odds with each other and the many layers between the interface and the data was a burden
Our approach was to treat the customer portal as a first class citizen within the suite of Cab9 products. It needed to be seamless and intuitive to any power and it had to work in realtime. We prototyped, developed and released a customer portal that we were proud of.
Why the change?
After the initial launch, we were expected to move swiftly. Building user interfaces that deal with a significant amount of data in software is complex. Add to the mix an ever growing team and you may often end up with disjointed experiences.
This has made us try and better understand how several developers working on completely different interfaces can efficiently collaborate to build great, cohesive software.
Say hello to Vu[e9] Components
Vu[e9] is our base UI kit to develop applications. At E9, we want to create a solid foundation which allows a more collaborative approach to building interfaces. We knew we could achieve this by investing in our own internal tools. We created a UI component toolkit to centralise our design process. Vu[e9] powers the look and feel of the customer portal.
So What's New?
Our new customer portal is not just a UI refresh. We have pretty much rebuilt the entire ecosystem around the customer portal technology. From a more robust, secure and better logged APIs to super fast data access, this redesign has been the biggest shift that any Cab9 web portal has seen yet.
Here're some of the changes:
Multi Account Access for Users
The new Cab9 customer portal allows user access to multiple accounts. This is great for your large clients as they can have users spread across multiple departments for the ease of use and yet benefit from unified reporting and access to all of the sub accounts at once.
This feature was frequently requested by a lot of our clients. With the new customer portal you can easily set a user with access to multiple accounts. This can also be used for client representatives.
Cleaner Design Approach
Contrary to the our regular approach, on the customer portal the design team had to rework the visuals after a product has seen through several stages of evolution. This sequencing effected the complexity of our UI/UX decisions for the product. Nevertheless, we sat down with our product managers and tried to redefine how some of our larger pages could come together with the changes on some of the smaller components.
A great example of this is thought process while designing the booking strip below.
Doubling down on data security
The new customer portal is one of the most secure and GDPR compliant product we have ever built.
Cab9 policies required those who record and process personal data to be open about how it is used. This includes obtaining, recording, holding, using, sharing and destroying data.
Finally, a promise to evolve even quicker
By focusing on a collaborative approach to build better tools, and creating a unified system, we will use our time to apply creativity to solve bigger challenges.
Over the coming months, we aim to be even more agile and take giant leaps in the way we design and build software and customer portal for us is high up on our priority list. From a free SSL certificate creation for custom domains, client level brand colours and a smart chatbot integration our new customer portal will be engineered to be industry leading.