ContrOCC Web is our project to migrate the market leading social care finance system ContrOCC from a desktop-installed client application to a modern, browser-based system.
Customer demand sparked this change, and we have kept user and customer requirements at the front of our plans.
We are keeping the overall layout of the interface the same as before so that existing users will find it easier to adapt without additional training and support. The objective is to develop a system that is familiar but new.
Customers had told us that deploying upgrades of the desktop application can cause scheduling problems. If there are user interface bugs, customer resource must be involved in deploying fixes. A browser-based system will allow OCC to apply fixes remotely and make this better.
We are also responding to accessibility concerns. Some users had questioned the small text size in ContrOCC desktop, particularly on high-resolution monitors or where display settings are locked. In a browser-based system, users can do everything they can with a web page, including zooming in or installing browser plug-ins for high contrast. The new user interface is tested with screen readers and complies with AA-standard accessibility guidelines.
Benefits for us
ContrOCC Web offers opportunities for us too, as a company and as people. We aspire to be a community of first-rate developers and designers, where people are motivated to excel and support each other. This is easier if our main product keeps up with the latest technologies. The move to ContrOCC Web provides a chance to modernise our code base. All of our developers have been offered the opportunity to be involved, irrespective of their previous focus. Fourteen people are now working on the project, including front-end developers, technical leads, user experience and user guide experts, a project manager and a product manager. ContrOCC Web is our main focus for the coming year.
We have mapped out every single one of the 670 charging and payments screens, tabs, pop-ups and wizards used in ContrOCC. Some are simple, others are very complex. We have analysed the component parts of each, including interdependencies across multiple screens and grouped them into “scenarios” or end-to-end processes. This means we can develop each scenario in a single chunk, and deliver useful, flowing functionality more quickly.
We are installing ContrOCC Web by default with every upgrade. This helps identify any infrastructure issues quickly and give users a chance to take an early look and provide feedback.
As we migrate more screens and scenarios into ContrOCC Web, we focus on the most commonly used functionality first. Doing this, and releasing screens in our monthly release cycle as they are completed, means that some users will soon choose to switch to ContrOCC Web and won’t need the desktop application at all, even before it is deprecated. This gives a softer rollout, allowing customers more time to support users and identify any issues at an early stage.
In the course of this work, OCC is continuing to learn and improve our development processes. For example, we have increased the automation of regression testing, moved to a continuous delivery methodology, and followed good agile practice, including regular team retrospectives, to monitor our effectiveness and efficiency.
Early user feedback has been positive and we’re eagerly looking forward to delivering this improvement to our customers in 2022.