Get a fresh perspective from an Infare Insider. This month, we interview Aleksej Kozlov, Senior Front-End Developer, who explains why usability, performance and ease-of-use are crucial aspects of developing customer-centric software.
Why front-end development is important?
Front-end development is the practice of presenting a website or any application in the most easy and user-friendly way for customers to interact with. Usability, performance and ease-of-use are very important aspects of front-end development. It can also quickly become a trivial task sustaining a consistent “look and feel” as technologies and devices evolve. Ultimately customers are at the centre of any front-end development.
Aleksej, tell us how your work has impacted Infare customers
For the past 5 years, since I joined Infare, my main focus has been to analyse the improvement areas for our product portfolio implementing my front-end knowledge into specific customer-facing projects. The critical starting point was acquiring the in-depth knowledge of how customers benefit from Infare’s products. You can’t improve the experience if you are not familiar with what customers are looking for and value the most.
From the start, I had the opportunity to be hands-on on the Pharos development and was able to bring a solution which improved performance and code readability. This considerably small improvement, and the one I am particularly proud of, has served us well for the years ahead, allowing our customers to work more efficiently and speeded up the go-to-market process.
You have worked on Infare’s focal products: Pharos and Altus. Can you shortly explain how customers engage with these products?
Sure! Altus, for example, is an interesting case: from the user’s perspective it is the Airfare Big Data solution simple in its nature: users request relevant to the business information and Altus delivers billions of historical airfares allowing customers to quickly grasp the opportunities competitive airfare data has in store. However, “simple” is no synonym to describe the power-house Altus is helping to discover new revenue opportunities from 1 trillion Historical Airfares and is growing by 2 billion airfares every day. This is exactly what we aim working with front-end development – solutions which are simple to use yet powerful in what it can offer.
Pharos on the other hand, is the next-generation solution full of different displays and features which offer to the users a spectrum of different actions to take and various analysis to perform. The big part of a successful take off of Pharos in late 2018 was an integration of customer feedback in the development process. Close customer relationships are at the core of Infare’s success story and we have the processes where teams create user specifications based on the gathered feedback. This translates into new implementations, changes or even new features. On a daily basis, airline’s revenue managers around the world use Pharos and I see it as a personal challenge and responsibility to ensure the best experience for them.
How do you integrate product usability and customer experience at the same time sustaining the long-lasting product performance and stability?
As much as I try to see the product from the user’s point of view, as a developer, I might miss out on some essential parts if I analyse the product usability and customers experience in isolation. We have a “Design and Research” team who takes care of this step. However, I am happy that I am involved in the process consistently interacting with the team where I feel free to share my ideas. The Design and Research team are the experts on the topic. Together we give-back to customers what we learn from product usability and customer experience information.
Than it comes to product performance and stability, we, the developers are in charge. It is our responsibility no matter what to ensure the performance and security of the code. Our work is agile yet sometimes the best and most secure practice for us is to build our own integrations and plugins. This is of course a time-consuming task. However, we have seen again and again that the time invested in developing custom solutions which we know inside-out pays dividends in the long run. It also allows us to improve and extend on our own terms.
What would be your advice for companies creating customer facing applications?
Know your audience. Be consistent with your design. Put user experience at the centre of the development process. Test, collect the feedback, make improvement and learn from it. Than it is all good and done do not forget that even the best design will fail if software itself is not responsive enough. If you think the application takes too long to load – your customers will grow even more impatient ignoring all the good improvements you have done.
Which of Aleksej’s tips for developing customer-centric software seems the most important to you? We highly value your feedback! Feel free to reach out to Aleksej directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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