Software User Interface
One of Optimal Auctions core strengths is our user interface design. Our software programmers are world reknown for their design and user interface programming skills. We believe strongly that our software's user interface is the finest, easiest to understand, and most intuitive user interface in the auction software market.
When dealing with auction software, and any software, the most important aspect to a good user interface design is to understand the user and how they will be interacting with the software. We've studied not only the auction administrators, but also the bidders, and how they use the software, and how the interact with the software. We've learned several important things about our software's users, things that have helped us design a user interface optimized for their usage during an auction.
The first aspect we observed when watching bidders use our software is their initial unfamiliarity with the software. This, of course, is understandable. They are logging into a new piece of software for the first time, so it makes sense that everything will be unfamiliar to them. When designing our user interface for bidders, we strove to overcome this sense of unfamiliarity by making the overall user interface as easy-to-understand as possible, even when our clients are using the software for the first time.
Our software uses large, easy to understand icons to move between pages, as you can see here in our tab bar. The tabs are self-explanatory enough to make their underlying pages readily apparent, even to a new bidder.
Additionally, our software makes sure that the most important information in the auction is clearly visible, clearly marked, and most importantly, constantly updated. Our software makes extensive use of Ajax, a modern web technology that refreshes data on a user's screen without them having to press the "Refresh" button. This ensures that everyone, both bidders and administrators, see the most up-to-date information at all times on their screen.
One of these critical pieces of information is the official auction time. Our auction shows to bidders the exact official time, accurate to the second, as well as the official time zone, removing any doubt about the time.
The other critical aspect of the software that must be updated in real-time without making the user refresh page is the auction status. The auction status includes vital information, like the current round, the current phase of the auction, the time remaining in the auction, and of course, any auction-specific data that bidders or administrators want to see. Our software puts this information in a prominent position in the software, and ensures it's not only in big font, but also clearly shows the information in an easy-to-understand manner.
Of course, the most important aspect of any auction software is it's bidding screen. We've designed our software to have the most intuitive and easy-to-understand bidding screen in the industry. This is important, because the bidding screen is where the bidders spend the majority of their time in the software, and of course, is where they spend their money in the auction. It's absolutely critical that the bidders can see all the information they need to see on the bidding screen, while not being overwhelmed by it. We've observed several of our clients using our bidding screen, and over the years have optimized it. We've noticed that highlighting the most critical information in colors draws the bidder's attention. We've noticed that well placed buttons make the bid submission process easy. And we've found that simple and straightforward tables are the most efficient and easy to understand way to present the information about the products to the bidders.
The result of these studies and observations is a well designed bidding page, one in which bidders can clearly see the products they are winning, the products they are losing, the current prices, and allow them to easily submit new bids. In our bidding screen, placing a bid is as easy to clicking a checkbox. Submitting it is easy as finding the big red "Submit Bids" button. Everything is laid out in the ideal manner, as our user interface experts have studied the ideal human computer interface design principles to ensure that our software has the best user interface possible.
When all the components of our user interface are taken together, you can see in this screenshot that our software looks intuitive. Everything is where it belongs. Information is ready accessible and can be found easily. The bidding information is cleanly separated from the auction information. And of course, the colors and fonts are pleasing to the eyes.
Because our software is used world-wide, our software naturally needs to support multiple languagues. In fact, our software can support multiple languages within the same auction. In a scenario where our clients' bidders speak multiple different languages, our software can support all the necessary languages in the same auction, allowing each bidder to choose their own language, the language that will help them place bids most easily in the auction. Imagine a scenario where a company sells products across Europe and needs to support French, German, Polish, and Czech. This is easily done in our software, requiring only the quick translation of an external text file. We can even support non-Western alphabets, as our software has been used in auctions in Thai and Arabic.
We live in a world where our clients can no longer be expected to participate in an auction with a laptop. Our clients have tablets and mobile devices, and as a software provider, we need to support all the devices that our clients could use. We don't believe any software company should dictate that their clients use specific devices, and not use certain devices.
As a result of this client-first philosophy, our software is optimized to look great on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Additionally, we have the belief that a bidding screen that looks great on a desktop doesn't necessarily look nice on a mobile phone. As a result, our user interface is "responsive", meaning that it adapts gracefully to the size of the device. It automatically detects what device the client is using and displays the ideal and optimized user interface for that device. The result is a beautiful bidding experience, no matter the device.
Here is our main screen and bidding screen on an Android tablet, the Nexus 7. The screens shown are different than on the laptop (seen above), but make bidding easier on a tablet, and follow the user interface design guidelines on a tablet.