Improving Team User Experience through Chrome Plugins i.e. Front End Development

Early on in my career while at Wunderman Minneapolis, I was working a production web development job that essentially boiled down to absolutely positioning boxes, within a box. Super riveting work and after a couple of iterations I was able to streamline the process to such an extent that I was literally begging for more work.

With most of our work being production based, and not so much around architecture ( there was an Accenture team taking on most of that work ) I was on the lookout for creating ways to optimize how our team members worked.

The first implementation was a Tamper Monkey addon that would grab the information that corresponded to the spreadsheets and displayed them on each box. This assisted the Quality Assurance and Project Managers on the team from having to alt-tab back and forth between and excel spreadsheet. Calculating out the time saved every week was tricky — but conservatively 30 minutes per person ( with a team that fluctuated between 4 – 16 depending on the season ) saved 8 hours of work across the team. Pretty snazzy!

The second implementation was a JavaScript snippet that reset an timeout within a Sharepoint issue tracker. When the user spent 3 minutes idle it would log the user out — which then resulted in a lengthy process of having to re authenticate to the Best Buy system, navigate through the share point. Not the worst — but annoying none-the-less. Same thing here — probably saved 15 minutes per person across the team every week. So we’re looking at a total of 12 – 16 hours.

The third implementation was adding a couple of stylistic elements, like updating the title of the tab with how many issues were assigned to you, and then refreshing the page in the background so that you would be prompted whenever there was a change. Not life-changing but the minutes of refreshing the browser went away, and you know that every once in awhile when you’re waiting for something everything else seems to fade away and you smash F5.

Next, there was a breaking quality of life change when Accenture rolled out a new build which removed page numbers from the website. This wasn’t a problem for our end users, but when you’re running Quality Control on 300 products, and a product is on page 17 and you have no possible clue which page you’re currently on — you spend a ton of time going back and forth between pages. Injecting the page number back in with a extension saved probably an hour of back and forth time for every team member Boom — up to 30+ hours a week, practically saving enough money to hire another production person.

There were a slew of additional quality of life improvements that added up to some significant time savings over the course of my two years at Wunderman, which as the only developer in what was essentially a print shop was pretty impressive to accomplish on my own.

Ever since then I’ve been looking for ways to shave time off of team tasks by creating functional little snippets. One of the best time savers that I’ve come across is injecting some Javascript to give the user better playback controls on HTML5 Video like the Video Speed Controller chrome extension.

Most larger organizations have some sort of video compliance training, when onboarding takes probably 8 – 16 hours. No new employee wants to spend that much time being fed information that they probably have covered in their recent past — but using the video speed controller you can turn that playback to 3x or 4x and cut the 16 hours of video into 4 hours all while conveying the same amount of information.

How many other times in your life do you have to watch videos but simply don’t have the time? Chris Coyier gave a talk at JAMStack entitled the All Powerful Front End Developer , which I probably wouldn’t have watched if I had to dedicate a full 30 minutes to it — but when I can get the content in a highly focused 10 minute burst.

The Front End Developer is truly all powerful, and quality of life chrome extensions really prove that.

About the Author

Headshot of Mathias Rechtzigel with some sweet lazers in the background. Like the type you would find in a cheesy Sears photoshoot. Yeah those ones.

Mathias Rechtzigel is a web creator, his skills range from development, design, user experience and sometimes content creation.

He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his partner (Ellen), dog (Bard), and two cats ( Pippi & Misti ).

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