Real-Time Auction System

AuctionsPlus is a service provider for electronic online auctions.

Established in the mid-1980s, AuctionsPlus runs Australia’s largest online auction for the agricultural industry. AuctionsPlus approached SSW to re-develop their existing online auction site in the latest technologies. SSW delivered a faster system that could handle much more load in a streamlined, intuitive experience that amazed the end users. AuctionsPlus was happy to decommission the old site.

Challenge

There were two major points to overcome: the original site had a limit of supported users and zero extensibility points – it was difficult to add new features such as polishing up the UI with user feature requests, as well as providing extended administrative functionality (such as the ability to see reports).

Maintenance and bug fixing was difficult to achieve which had to be addressed. The interface had to be adapted to the new advancements in design and technology – One of the major problems that had to be addressed was the fixed height and width which made it hard to read on large LCD screens. The UI was complicated; it was often difficult for the user to determine what they should do or what they ought to do next – it lacked a clear progression.

Happy internal users, happy developers then finally happy end-users, was achieved in a time frame of 10 months.

Process

Baby steps to success

In 2 week iterations, the team achieved their project objectives to support more users and update the interface, releasing the software in March 2011. It underwent a 3-week trial phase that enabled the team to collect valuable user feedback and implement improvements, ensuring that everyone was happy with the final product.

The solution was built on SQL Server, IIS, WCF, ASP.NET MVC and Silverlight. Using Silverlight helped to overcome some limitations that would not have been possible in other technologies such as Java and HTML+ JavaScript, without being too dependent on the web browser and operating system.

The Auctions Plus Bidding platform
Figure: The rich AuctionsPlus Buyer screen is many times faster than the prior version

Results

Reports from end-users show that the new auction platform is easier to use, better performing, and quicker to get common tasks done.