By Jeremy Milam
The secret to designing a new custom application in Intelex is breaking the process down into small steps. Let’s take a closer look at the planning aspects involved with designing a new app.
Requirements gathering is probably the most vital piece of the process. It is very important to get the application stakeholders in a room and ask some key questions. One of those questions is: “How (if at all) are you currently capturing this data – are you writing everything down, using spreadsheets, or using another application?” This gives stakeholders a chance to give the pros and cons of their current system.
Data and reporting outputs are vital to getting buy-in from stakeholders. At the end of the day, that’s what people want to see. Even at this early stage with no data in the system, you can be thinking about how a given data point will look when it comes out the other side. The Business Intelligence suite in use by Intelex has many different options for helping output the data in a graphically stunning format.
Intended user group
There can be great variety in the types of employee entering data into your system. It can be anyone from the CEO all the way down to a machine operator in your plant. Application designers need to take this into account during the design phase. For example, the machine operator on the production floor might not have the time to enter all the pertinent details of a near-miss that his supervisor or line manager may have. In cases like this, it is important to consider a more streamlined beginning view for an application. Obviously, all the data will need to be there at some point, but those fields might not need to be visible until the record is in an “Investigative” stage and assigned to that supervisor or line manager.
It is important to have good planning tools available to you during the application design process. Make sure that whatever tool you use offers the ability to see what fields you are going to create and what that response data might look like. This is extremely helpful in the case of dropdown lists or radio button groups.
Workflow is obviously an important piece of the puzzle. While it’s good to have a general idea of how the workflow “might” look in the final version of the application, it’s a good practice to not be too attached to that initial plan. It has been my experience that the workflow creation process can be very fluid and may take on many different forms before final release.
Jeremy Milam, CEAS, is Senior H&S Systems Administrator, Global Health and Safety, at Pearson.