An important piece of functionality within the Showmgr scheduler, this calendar system provided new controls for setting up complex schedule patterns. There were several critical booking related functions to support, changing frequency, editing and deleting, and allowing for exceptions without requiring a new pattern to be set. The workflow states shown below illustrate the power and flexibility of the new booking system.
The Personnel Scheduler is a critical piece of functionality that allows project planners to book personnel for upcoming and ongoing work assignments. Job durations could range from 1 week to a year plus. The scheduler needed robust calendar functionality to accommodate both small and large groups. It also had to simplify the process of scheduling exceptions, making edits, swaps and cancellations.
Based on Google Material Design UI and interaction patterns, the full redesign of the scheduler was needed to upgrade the hard-to-use version already in production. The introduction of pre-set templates combined with the ability to create custom schedules that could be saved for later use, made the calendar a much more powerful tool than the previous iteration.
Booking selections were visually reinforced by the Schedule Overview column, giving users a quick visual cue of bookings by annual quarter. The interface would display all the critical components for booking a crew and swapping out or adding new personnel at any time.
INSIGHTS & MORE CHALLENGES
The complexity of scheduling recurring appointments with selected personnel was compounded by a limited understanding of how scalability could affect the user interface. While a majority of projects required a crew of fewer than a 20 people, there were also projects with crews consisting of hundreds. Anticipating the user needs in a scenario where there were dozens of make-up crew alone became further complicated when scheduling over an extended period of time. What was the best way to display a specific category of laborers so that other categories were also represented? This was a question which would likely lead us towards new UI solutions. The first and primary solution needed for the V.1 launch was to make scheduling easier. Once we had achieved that goal we would focus on solving for scalability.
The redesigned Scheduler was a massive leap forward for Showmgr users. It greatly improved the way users created and edited groups (elements) by allowing simple inline add/edit functionality and for schedule patterning displayed a visual reinforcement of the users selections at every step of the way. Upgrading the scheduler was a complex and daunting task. There was a level of compromise in designing to the deadline which seemed limiting at first but later helped provide space to think more in depth about creating groups and how to represent assignments over long periods of time. In this case, a more powerful tool required more planning and that was going to have to happen over time in well thought out increments.