Cheshire Scientific, a microbiological contract testing laboratory based in Bromborough Wirral, required a web based application that would allow them to upload customers' test certificates so that they could then be accessed online and viewed by the client. The customer would also be able to create their own folders and subfolders in which to store their certificates by category.
Other required features included a facility where customers could book courier collections and depot drop- offs, request prices for different tests, upload data samples and receive invoices and trigger notification files similar to certificates, as described above.
To meet the project requirements, a portal accessible from the Cheshire Scientific website was created so that customers can login and view their certificates etc. For Cheshire Scientific administration, a control panel was developed to allow all the functionality described above to be actioned.
In the control panel the first piece of functionality to be developed was to allow the creation of new companies and then to create and assign a primary user to that company. The next pieces of data to be assigned to a company include their trigger settings, analysis prices and any data samples that may have been uploaded by the client from their portal area.
After initially developing the functionality allowing a company’s basic data to be set up, the next phase was to build the facility where customer certificates, invoices and trigger notifications could all be uploaded and assigned to a particular customer.
The most challenging part was the development of the customer portal. Developing the initial customer login was standard work and the browsing and viewing of test certificates was also straightforward. Programmatically, the main challenge here lay in the development of the certificate folders and subfolders section. When new certificates became available to view, a customer should then be able to assign it to one of the folders/subfolders that had already been created. The most challenging piece of programming was if they then needed to move any certificate to another folder/subfolder. This was the trickiest part to develop. Modified functionality was then developed for the invoice and trigger notification areas.
A facility where Courier Collections can be booked was also added. This area consisted of a form where the customer can select a collection date followed by their name and collection address details. A collection booking deadline notification of midday was also added above the booking form. A final touch was to add a complete history of all Courier Collections which had been booked.
A depot drop-off facility was also added similar to the Courier Collection where a customer can add a requested drop off time, contact details and address. A depot drop off booking deadline of 1.30pm was also added here above the form and in another tab a depot drop off history was also included.
Other features that were added in the customer portal included an Analysis Request Form, Distribution Lists and a feature to request prices for new tests. A final feature that was requested by customers was the ability for them to also upload their logo which would be located to the right of the main Cheshire Scientific logo in the header.
Regarding security, both the customer portal and control panel interfaces are protected with an SSL certificate and all customer and control panel passwords are protected using a salted encryption technique.
More technologies were used for this project than your ‘standard’ online store which included:
Before being rolled out to other clients, a beta version of the software tested using clients such as the NHS in Leeds and ADM Arkady Feeds UK. After going through a trial period of four months, the system is slowly being rolled out to more and more clients, until all of their customers are using the system.