My research on how to improve our click-to-dial plugin

Written by Dagmar Hoogendorp on 6th December 2019

Hi! My name is Dagmar and I am currently completing my graduation internship at Spindle. I am in my final year of studying Software Engineering at Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen. This isn’t my first study though. First, I completed a degree in Communications and started working. Although that wasn’t the career for me, it was a blessing in disguise, because it was then that I found my passion for coding. I began studying Software Engineering as one of the few female students in a male-dominated field. I would like to share what my graduation project is focused on, and the path I took to figure out my final project.

The focus of my internship

Before the summer break in The Netherlands, I had to have my internship assignment ready. My research focuses on the click-to-dial plugin that works with our telephony platform VoIPGRID. This plugin is super useful. It injects buttons into web pages that allow you to call phone numbers immediately with one click on your screen. You are also able to change the destination on which you are available (e.g. our VoIP app or the Webphone), view the status of colleagues and current queues.

Even though the plugin is super handy, it is starting to be outdated. It was written with jQuery and the UI has not been updated since the creation of the plugin a couple of years ago. Google also announced a new Manifest with new rules applying to plugins. They will restrict certain capabilities. This means our plugin has to be compliant with the new rules of Manifest V3, if it wants to be available on Chrome. All of these reasons were why Spindle was looking for an intern to work on the plugin, but my original assignment was still quite broad.

Gaining perspective on the assignment

Once I started my internship, my first task was to gain more perspective on the assignment. I started talking to my colleagues at Spindle about the research possibilities. The conclusion of those talks was that research on the plugin UI would not be that interesting for me or Spindle. Research on the features of the plugin, however, would be. With the new rules, some features might not come back so it was necessary to know how this would impact the users.

The new idea: use fewer features

Since certain capabilities will be restricted for plugins, it could possibly mean fewer features in the click-to-dial plugin. The current idea for my internship project is to research how fewer features will affect the users. Are they fine with fewer functionalities, or will it interrupt the way they use the click-to-dial plugin?

At first, I wanted to conduct only interviews with users to see how they use the plugin and if they would miss certain features or not. However, since users do not always really know what they want, or what they can miss, the thought of only doing interviews will not give the most complete picture of plugin usage. By talking to a lot of people I changed my mind again.

To make the research more impactful I decided that adding metrics to the plugin will give a more complete view of the usage of the plugin, in combination with interviews. To generate data with my metrics, I will make two plugins that have fewer features and ask users to use them for a while.

Looking for plugin users

My internship ends at the beginning of February. I will post another blog about the results once I completed my research. Do you work with the plugin on a regular basis? I am looking for volunteers to contribute to the research. The version used for the research will contain fewer features and will measure how you use the plugin. Let me know in the comments below if you’re interested in helping out!

Your thoughts

  • Written by Remco on 6th December 2019

    I want to test the ‘new’ plugin with fewer features. 😁

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