Articles
4
min read

PlanSafe V2 Update Q&A with George Dominic & Rhys Collyer 

Written by
Vicky Hawes
Published on
May 14, 2024
What it takes to change...

Q1: Tell us about the origins of PlanSafe

RC: PlanSafe started about 14 years ago but under a different name. Originally it was this funny little training package that we would provide to customers on a CD-ROM (remember them?). 

From there, it became what we referred to as FEP (Fire Evacuation Program) where we began incorporating interactive floor plans into the training package. FEP was all flash-based and offered a large degree of customisation. From here we quickly realised the potential for delivering truly site-specific occupancy and warden training to learners. As Flash became more of a redundant technology, we then developed PlanSafe as it is today.  

PlanSafe was initially powered by plans created in CorelDRAW before we took all the working knowledge of the drafting process and created PlanStudio in-house to power our interactive floor plans instead.

GD:  I came on board at the beginning of PlanSafe and I haven’t had a chance to see the original CD or the Flash version of it. From memory, PlanSafe was originally called “Building and Emergency Procedure”. 

Q2: Why has the update to PlanSafe been necessary? 

GD: Over time the customer base has changed a lot and they demanded a more user friendly, visual, feature oriented product. The main driver for change? I would say it was because of the Customer Satisfaction Survey and we want more customers to use PlanSafe.

RC: As time has advanced, so have standards and industry trends surrounding the different technologies to make the magic happen. As well as new norms surrounding the design and user experience of web apps. After feedback from our loyal customers, we decided it was time to bring the platform into modern times and do a bit of a spring clean to ensure that we’re continuing to deliver the best possible experiences to our end users.

Q3: How long did it take to plan and implement the updates?

GD: Rhys and I have been thinking about it for years! In the last year we made  the decision (with approvals from the top!) to go ahead and start working on the new version of what we now call “PlanSafe V2”. 

RC: From the pre-planning stages to this first Beta release, the process has probably taken about 7 months. This includes the time it took for us to scope everything, gather customer feedback, create the new designs, and get right in the trenches to develop this first Beta release.

Q4: What was your favourite part of this project to work on?

GD: As a software developer, my favourite part of this project is always the backend code where the magic happens😊. I love the wireframing stage where many of our clients' needs and ideas become a reality in the overall plan and visuals.

RC: My favourite part of this project definitely had to be the design phase. Being able to go into a planning meeting with a bunch of customer feedback, alongside features and ideas we wanted to see. Being given a metaphorical blank canvas to work with and make all of that happen was a really fun experience.

Q5: What do you hope the new version of PlanSafe will do for existing Partners and Customers?

GD: I do hope our Customers enjoy the new look and feel. But also, I hope we have met and gone well beyond their expectations as well as resolving the issues they had using the the old version of PlanSafe.

RC: One of our biggest aims for this work was to facilitate customer autonomy and ease-of-use. We want people to be able to jump into the application, immediately find what they’re after, and achieve what they are hoping to do with as few touchpoints as possible. 

Q6: What can Partners and Customers expect from Locatrix in the future with PlanSafe? 

GD: The future of PlanSafe is looking bright and steady. We have a whole lot more changes coming in the near future. We have already planned for the next 2 years' worth of development and changes for PlanSafe which I’m pretty sure Partners and Customers alike will love... mainly because the ideas came from them 😊.

RC: For the next little while, we’ll really aim our focus on the customer autonomy and ease-of-use goals. We will continue to update PlanSafe to meet our new improved design standard while incorporating some much-requested features along the way. We’re really excited to get these updates out and in the hand of users for their feedback!

Q7: Your personal favourite new PlanSafe feature?

GD: Personally, I have many favourites, but if you ask me to choose one… I would choose the “Power User” option where you can modify and change things in bulk!

RC: For me, I’m really excited by the new power-user features we’re adding to PlanSafe, particularly with bulk actions. Being able to do things in bulk (thanks to the new multi-select choice) especially when managing large portfolios, is going to cut down on the time it takes to manage things in PlanSafe significantly. I can’t wait to get in there and begin using it.

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