Meet the Developers of PoolParty 2022
Pablo Pacheco has been with the Semantic Web Company for 1.5 years now. He is a Frontend Web Developer. Along with his programming skills, he has a background in graphic design that helps him make decisions about how he and his fellow frontend developers can improve PoolParty’s UX/UI. Pablo had a key role in ensuring that was a more user-friendly software overall, and worked closely with the new user management features of PoolParty 2022.
Hear about his experience by clicking on the questions and viewing the transcript.
At which point in the development process did you get involved in the PoolParty 2022 release? And how do you manage task distribution among your team between backend and frontend?
I joined when decisions were already made about what service to use for authentication and the implementation was just starting. It really depends on the specific feature and the task, but what we first do is come up with the tasks or stories we want to introduce in the software and the Product Owner decides on the priorities and then we refine the story.
From there we determine who is involved in it – sometimes it’s both sides or sometimes it is one or the other. The backend provides information and the frontend displays information – we just have to make sure that the data between the frontend and backend is shared.
You worked on a variety of features for this release both in sync with the backend and exclusively on frontend improvement. Are there features that you worked on most intensively?
Specifically for this release I think a big thing is user management and this whole different management process, so the main feature we worked on in the frontend was the User Management Tab. We also worked on the authentication templates, so the password reset workflow was changed and login workflows. A lot of usability improvements on this whole authentication aspect.
And then we had a different variety of UX improvements. Mostly dialogs that were migrated from old code and new code, which sometimes included a change in design so that the user experience is overall better.
What input do you and your fellow frontend developers have in regards to usability and interface improvements? How do you decide what to change?
Sometimes these suggestions for usability tweaks come from the frontend developers, sometimes from our UX engineer. In digging into the application, we find some things that could be changed for the better and we pass it through our UX designer who comes up with the mockup for how the improvement should look and once we get approval from Product Ownership, then we do the implementation.
These changes are smaller parts of the application so it’s not a big feature that we all gather around, but still important and we typically can start working on them right away.
When we are migrating something from the old code, we take a step back and we say, “Okay, now that we are putting the work into the migration, are there already some improvements that we can make that will look better for the user?” So then we incorporate this into the whole initiative for better user experience.
You said there were a lot of improvements to the dialogs and pop-ups. Can you elaborate more on this?
One of the initial triggers for us to improve the UX comes from the fact that we want to migrate old code into the new code. When we are migrating something from the old code, we take a step back and we say, “Okay, now that we are putting the work into the migration, are there already some improvements that we can make that will look better for the user?” So then we incorporate this into the whole initiative for better user experience.
The second stage was to completely change the user management so we went through the users, groups, the roles and with this basically we introduced these architectural changes and added the services that work with Keycloak.
Were there any challenges you experienced in getting these improvements in PoolParty?
I think it was trickier in the backend to implement things like Keycloak and those authentication services, but the point is that frontend had to adapt. This is a good example of where backend needs to work on a feature and the requirement for change lies mostly on their side, but then it means that since the data changes with the backend, the data has to be synced on the frontend – triggering the improvements on our side.
So in the case of authentication, backend decided that we needed this new architecture so the user management changes came on our radar and we have to make these changes to the user experience. Once we begin working on these larger chunks of work, we can start to spot new improvements that can be made to the usability in general.
From your perspective, which feature do you think users can be most excited about?
From the frontend perspective, different workflows for the user management were updated and dialogs were improved in the UX which will make customers’ work better and easier. People can have easier to manage processes and it looks nicer overall.
We simplified multiselect options, and added icons to clue users into what could be done in the dialogs’ field. So for example, in the old design, a user sometimes couldn’t know if a field was editable or not unless they clicked around a few times. Now we added a pencil icon so it’s clear that you can edit it.
Also, some dialogs used to have four different tabs where you go from one step to the next to the next one. And we reduced them to one main tab so it’s easier and quicker for the user to get things done in PoolParty.
Now it’s easier and quicker for the user to get things done in PoolParty.
Interested in learning more about the PoolParty 2022 release? Head over to our release hub for all the content and more developer interviews.