Improving our platform continuously

This post is about some of the technology challenges we had in 2011.  I wanted to talk about them and make sure everyone knew that our top priority is to keep our users happy.

  • Performance: we had more users than ever this year and we also had more features and pages to serve and maintain.  A few critical bugs created a lot of frustrations (individual users crashing a page and subsequently not being able to access the site for 15-30 minutes with the browser being used).  We know how frustrating this must have been. 

    Here are a few things we have done and will continue to do in 2012 to resolve performance issues:

    • First of all, we will not hesitate to invest in more powerful hardware and infrastructure in order to continue improving performance
    • Second, we hired outside consultants to review our architecture and find bottlenecks, instead of only relying on ourselves.  We will also devote more time in improving performance than adding new features, and provide you with stats on the improvements we achieved.
    • And also, we will refactor parts of CampusGroups which we know could be designed better.

  • Email delays: a lot of you complained about emails being delivered with delays (up to 10-15h sometimes).  We analysed our emails delays and found that less than 2% of our group emails were delayed more than 1 hour.  However, because even 1% of the group emails represent a lot of individual emails, our goal is to tend to 0% email delays (delays exceeding 1h).

    Here is what we have done and will continue to do to prevent these delays from happening:

    • We improved our email delay alerts and will continue to improve them if necessary
    • The whole Dev & Support team is aware of these issues and will be alerted when they occur, 7/7 & 24/24.
    • We created pages to show you live email delays and past delays as well (coming end of January, we will post the link here).
  • Usability: in 2011, thanks to your numerous feedback and suggestions, we understood that students would rather prefer us to focus on the usability of our existing features, instead of focusing on adding more features. 

    Here is what we have started to do and will do in 2012 to answer this need:

    • We have started to identify what CampusGroups features are the most used, how they are used, and how we could make them easier and faster to use
    • We have prepared test scenarios and will use tools to measure whether our changes actually do improve usability
    • We will allow you to post feedback and suggestions on the site

Thanks for your time, as usual please don't hesistate to email us or post questions/suggestions and we will be happy to respond promptly.

All the best,

Yorick & Team