Development of Educational Portal for School Students

  • Service IT Consulting
  • Customer Local EdTech Company
  • Year of implementation 2019 – ongoing

Case

We have been fruitfully collaborating with our customer for several years. Their branch in e-Learning field turned to Loovatech to audit an already operating IT solution.

Educational portal for school students was created and launched by a third-party contractor. In its first months of operation, portal experienced an array of problems hindering their user base extension and product development.

Customer

Our client develops and distributes electronic educational content for innovative economy sector as a part of the development of a continuous education system.

The company is responsible for training and retraining engineering and management personnel for high-tech companies and enterprises in EMEA region.

Business problems

  • #1 Unsatisfactory user experience due to slow page load speed.
  • #2 Weak visuals and poor quality of service negatively affected perception of the brand.
  • #3 The process of working with external development contractor was non-transparent and failed to deliver desired results.
  • #4 Time-to-market of new service features and their quality did not meet business standards.

#1

Our approach

Loovatech team joined the project in late 2019, starting with its deep analysis. Extensive testing was carried out, and current state of the product was documented.

Analysis and testing

Data collection was carried out through in-depth interviews with all parties involved, including management, customer's in-house development team, and end users.

During the first load tests, metrics were determined to evaluate quality of service. Load generation was based on typical user behaviour in order to correspond to the real operating conditions as much as possible. Loovatech team analyzed software architecture for compliance with generally accepted practices and assessed project code quality.

Results of testing and analysis showed project's overall subpar technical condition. For example, server's response to user query took an average of 10 to 20 seconds even without significant load. With more than 100 active users at the same time, portal was guaranteed to go out of service.

Documentation

At the same time, Loovatech team carried out documentation work. System administrator's guide and functional description of the portal were created.

Technical specifications for the portal were developed, including:

  • Software architecture description;
  • Documentation of internal services and their interactions;
  • Descriptions of integrations with external services
  • Systemization of the database's logical structure.

Code refactoring

Based on comprehensive analysis results, recommendations were given to correct architectural problems and modify program code. Loovatech team started implementing these changes in early 2020.

Comprehensive work was carried out to modify project's weaker parts and rewrite over 45% of existing code. Fixing bugs and optimizing code went on for a significant period throughout fall of 2020. Structure of REST API was altered during the refactoring for better integration with portal interface.

Until the beginning of 2021, functional features of the system were being finalized in accordance to previously prepared recommendations. Loovatech engineers solved two dozen minor tasks at the junction of back-end and front-end to help third-party design contractor.

In 2021, portal features crucial for a positive user experience were optimized. User's private account area underwent significant changes.

#2

Consulting and development management

The customer was offered a development management methodology based on the Loovatech practices. Compliance checklists have been worked out, and quality assurance practices were introduced. For customer's convenience, we also developed extensive documentation on the matter.

Loovatech engineers optimized CI/CD by deploying and launching a system that handled build automation and delivery of changes to test and production environments. An additional environment was created to merge work results of three separate teams:

  • A third-party design studio that worked on a new version of the portal's front-end;
  • Customer's in-house development team;
  • Project team of Loovatech, responsible for the back-end.

Engineers set up automatic data replication from the servers' database. New pre-production environment was at any given moment a complete clone of production one not only in the code base, but also in content and database. This ruled out possibilities of data-related bugs that did not occur in the test environment. The option to build a specific version of the application and deploy it to any environment without involvement of engineers became available. Human error in build and delivery processes, as well as in quality control, was minimized.

#3

Result

Loovatech took responsibility for correcting the situation at a critical moment for the customer. In addition to business consulting and modernization of portal's technical part, we took on leadership, managing work process of three teams:

  • A third-party design studio that worked on a new version of the portal's front-end;
  • Customer's in-house development team;
  • Our own development team, responsible for the back-end

We automated delivery of updates and set up processes for portal operation and improvement. Detailed documentation and a streamlined development process will help the customer develop IT solutions without assistance from Loovatech further down the road.

Project's back-end was completely reformatted, helping bolster portal's stability and fault tolerance. Key performance issues were fixed, and the load on the customer's resources was decreased.

This solution was made efficient, and thus project that was initially failed by the previous contractor was put on the right track. As a result of these improvements, portal now fully complies with industry requirements for public high-load e-Learning web solutions.

#4

Future

Once an issue-ridden project, it is now becoming one of the leading educational portals in its segment. Improved audience dynamics allow the management team to confidently achieve key performance indicators. Funding for the project is increasing year by year. A new major round of development and improvements is expected to take place from the fall of 2021 until spring of 2022.

Business result

  • Use of new approaches to development process made it possible for the customer to successfully implement a large-scale redesign of the service.
  • Businesses can now objectively track performance and service quality metrics.
  • Quality and speed of delivery of new functionality improved due to the standardization of development processes.
  • The customer was given ready-made work standards, which made it possible to effectively manage the development process and ensure its transparency.
  • Page loading speed increased by 3-5 times after optimizing the back-end.

Technology stack

  • Server part ASP.NET Core
  • Middleware IIS
  • Interface Vue.js, Nuxt.js
  • Storage Microsoft SQL Server
  • DevOps TeamCity
  • Logging Elasticsearch Stack
  • Tools JIRA, Confluence, Bitbucket
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Digital Transformation

Processes are time-consuming

Routine processes in production, sales, marketing or communicating between departments take a lot of time.
Digital Transformation

Human factor is an issue

Employees do the same actions in different ways, and there is a lot of human error.
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There's duplication of work

Several systems and interfaces are needed to solve a single task, and switching between them takes time.
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Productivity is low

There is lack of consistency and order; time-consuming information search and processing reduce the productivity of employees.

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