Software Store launched in time for Move In weekend!
ITS contacted our office for some assistance in trying to simplify their software store options. There are now two stores — and depending upon who you are and how you will pay for the products — you need to go to different stores. There are products that you can buy at both stores; some manufacturers only had products available in one store, others could be bought with a credit card, but not a cost center. Some products were free in one store — but if users ended up in the wrong store, they wouldn’t even see the free option. Departments might see the free option — but not fully be aware it was for students only.
Needless to say — ITS was concerned about people getting confused!
We suggested creating a completely separate home page for all software purchases at Vanderbilt. This approach allows users to first self-identify themselves as either students, faculty/staff or departments. The user is then taken to a page listing all the products they are eligible to purchase — with a link taking them to the correct store for their purchase. Some notes about this functionality:
- The new software store has “smart links”. This means the website remembers what page you were trying to visit after you’ve logged in. So for the new store products — after you’ve logged in, the store displays the product you want to buy.
- The old store does not have smart links. This means that those BUY links take you to the main store page. Unfortunately, the old store cannot be updated to use smart links — so it’s always going to require another step for the users. However — at least they know they are in the right store for their product.
- Product prices are not listed due to restrictions in some vendor contracts. Prices ARE available after the user logs in and is authenticated as a member of the Vanderbilt community.
The site is a mix of wordpress for the content and blog portion of the site – and a small mysql/php database app that manages the items available.
Working with Cindy Frank and Karen Montefiori on this project was a breeze; and we’re all breathing a sigh of relief that we got the initial phase of the site up and running before Move-In weekend. Whew!