Database: Firebase Real Time Database
At the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic, NDSU School of Design, Architecture, and Art (SoDAA) decided to manage and monitor space/facility usage with a scheduling system for the new semester, which means the students need to schedule a space online before they use it. At the beginning, we just wanted to find an existing product that meets our initial requirements.
- The user can select a space from a list of 29 and make a reservation.
- The user can delete their reservations.
- The user should be able to select a seat number for the reservation.
- All the spaces and facilities can be imported to the system easily.
However, we tried more than ten services and WordPress plugins but didn’t find one that is easy to set up for our scenario.
After analyzing the user flow of the booking process, I decided to create our own system. But the time is limited. I only have a week to create something useful. Several days later, I showed a minimum viable product (MVP) to the department head, Michael. It was a simple form with the basic functions. The students can only reserve a place by entering their names, selecting a studio, picking a date and time. The only way to reschedule and cancel is to update the database by myself. But Michael was excited because at least we could have something to use be the beginning of the semester, and it was highly customized for the school.
After deploying the MVP, the school had a usable system to monitor the facilities and limit the number of people in a space. So, I got more time to design the user interface and optimize user experience. Four weeks later, a full system for the students was online. In this version, all the requirements were met. In addition, I set up an SMTP server to send the notifications to the user and created a cancellation function.