We Excel With Quick Turn-Around Times
A client runs a real estate trade show pageant each year, with over 30 categories and over 100 unique voting questions. Judges are selected for each or multiple categories and vote on each submission in the categories, rating 1-10 for each question assigned to that category.
TechSlice was brought in to address the extremely tedious and time-consuming process established by the previous development team/company, which was determined to be unacceptable moving forward. The competition functionality was tacked onto the existing WP site for the host organization, with the requirement to maintain the look and feel of the host organization.
In addition, given the near-term schedule for the competition, there was not time to do a complete rewrite of the process or move to an external provider.
Our solution was to assess the operational requirements of the submission and judging processes, and identify critical areas that could be improved within the time frame.
First issue, payments in the form plugin being used by the WP site were not compatible with the payments plugin being used elsewhere in the site. We switched plugins and integrated payment category tracking so that the global payments system could attribute payments for the competition as separate from the payments for other events.
Next, when a competition entry form was submitted, an intern at the client’s company would then create an entry page with its corresponding voting criteria form. This would take significant time and was very prone to errors since it was a manual process. We used the newly selected form plugin from the payments system to automatically create these entry pages from a page template corresponding to each category. In addition we put each entry in a category so that we could automate the insertion of the voting form on each page.
With over 100 unique voting questions and 30 categories, the plugin being used to tally votes did not even allow attribution of votes to a user account, which was a manual process by IP
address. We created a judging account type, assigned custom permissions and a home page for the judges that allow them to see and restricted them to voting on submissions in their assigned categories. This also eliminated the need for WP page passwords assigned to each category.
We selected a rating plugin and adapted it to be used for voting, since it provided the ability to track votes to the accounts and total the results for final review by the host organization. To bulk import the large number of voting questions, we wrote a mysql batch job that was run directly on the database to insert the categories and questions.
The final process improvement was to set up script redirects to quickly take judges through the voting process, taking them to their index home page upon login and returning them home after voting in each entry.
As the competition progressed, we were available for last minute tweaks and corrections, along with instructions so that the client and host organization would understand how to support issues in the future.