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We are making a customization interface for a custom computer company. It
will have the same basic point as www.PugetSystems.com / www.AlienWare.com /
www.PCsForEveryone.com and a variety of other like-wise custom computer
companies with online interfaces (Dell even has one)
I have uploaded a demo (something I quickly put together) of the front-end
"customization interface" available here: www.PoweredPC.com/testing
[This is the actual interface the user will see - there are 2 control panels
(admin cp and user cp) in addition to this page]. Basically there will be 25
or so catagories (tables - processors, hard drives, graphics cards, monitors
etc) with all the diferent things that go into (or peripherals) the
computer. The user can select parts (most will be radio butons although
some, such as software, will be check boxes) for each of these catagories.
Each time a radio button is selected the details about that product should
update next to it (Name/Brand/Other/Price/Image will be constant throughout
every catagory, while FSB/Socket/Frequency as specific to processors,
Cache/Interface/Capacity specific to hard drives, and so on. Basically each
catagory will have 2-4 specific detail fields and they all share the same 5
global fields (with different values of course).
At the bottom of this 'customiation' page there will be 3 options: "Save
configuration", "Submit Configuration", "Buy configuration now". There will
also be a text area where they can input comments about their computer
(basically the same way Puget has it set it), they can write "I want the
fastest computer you can make", or "I want an excellent gaming computer that
is also relatively quiet", etc.
"Save Configuration" will basically save the configuration in the user cp.
The user CP will be a very simple page, the user can save configurations,
edit saved configurations, buy saved configurations, and view status of any
current orders [if the user just bought a computer it will show details of
their purchase (basically an invoice), and the current status (will explain
this later)]. The user will have to login to access the user cp (and to save
any configurations). To login the user must be registered, so there has to
be a registration form as well.
"Submit Configuration" means the user will submit it (they do not pay) to us
for review. We can then reply with suggestions about their configuration,
they can still edit it (acts as a saved configuration in that sense), and
they can choose to buy it at any time.
"Buy Configuration" is exactly what it says, 'buy it now'. This will bypass
the "submit configuration" where we respond with suggestions. This will
immediatley buy the computer (will take them directly to an order form where
the user inputs personal and payment information - when the user chooses to
'buy' one of their saved or submitted configurations it also brigns them to
this same order form).
So the user cp will be pretty simple, nothing too fancy. The admin CP is
what will drive this entire customization interface. I have an example here:
Those are all the features that should be listed. in the Admin CP we should
be able to add/edit products. All the catagories/fields we have are listed
in the "add multiple products" link. We should be able to add these items,
and then edit them later (price changes etc), and also delete a product if
we stop offering it. That is all pretty trivial, the 'Custom PC' area would
be a bit more complicated. Basically we want to offer a few different
'default' PCs (If you look on Alienware's site they offer abuot 10 different
default settings, same as Puget, but 90% of the products you can customize
are the same). We want to have 4 basic catagories for our 'Custom PCs'
(Gamer/Office/Media/Silent), each catagory might have more than 1 default PC
as well, maybe a "Budget Gaming PC" and an "Extreme Gaming PC". The whole
point of this is for default parts (you can see this on customization
interfaces for other sites as well, when you select a PC all the default
parts are already selected, but you can change them all). Over 90% of the
parts will be the same, but we do not want to offer a very loud power supply
in our 'silent pc' (this psu may be available in every one of our setups
except this one silent setup), just as we would not want the default
processor for our 'budget gaming pc' to be the most expensive one we have
(although we may want to still ofer that processor). We just want to set up
a base that the user can customize, each 'custom PC' will have its own
defaults, and each will have its own list of parts (although 90%+ will be
the same throughout all the computers). All of this will be set by admins in
the admin CP.
The hardest part (I believe) of this interface will be compatibility. I am
not sure if you know uch about hardware, but not all processors are
compatible with all motherboards (Sockets differ), not all fans are
compatible with all processors, not all graphics cards are compatible with
all motherboards (PCI Express or AGP), and so on. Luckily the only issue is
the MOTHERBOARD. Anything that has a compatibility issue will be with the
motherboard. I can give more details on all this later, but basically it
goes as I said above. The sockets of processors/fans and motherboards must
match, input types of graphics cards must match (PCI Express / AGP), hard
drives must match (SATA or IDE), many motherboards are compatible with both
SATA and IDE, so that needs to be accounted for as well, RAM must match
(buffered / unbuffered), etc etc. when I add products I want to be able to
select which is which (ie: When I add a motherboard I want to select which
types of things it is compatible with (Socket 775 processors, unbuffered
RAM, SATA *AND* IDE Hard Drives (or just SATA, or just IDE), AGP graphics
card) and things of that sor. so when I add a processor or another product I
want to select which motherboard it is compatible with (socket 775), same
with other products. The compatibility 'rules' should be dropdowns
(basically the exact same as it is showed in the "add multiple items" demo I
have linked you to, and the other detail fields
(Name/Brand/FSB/Frequency/Price etc for whatever product it may be) should
be text inputs. I want to set up this compatibility in the admin cp when I
add parts so it will be displayed correctly in the customization interface
(when the user hits a radio button for a motherboard compatible with only a
socket 775 processor, only socket 775 processors are shown.. same with a
socket 939 processor, and so on with all catagories). The compatibility in
the interface should be fully automatic (after we manually add all the
products, and set up the "custom PCs" etc.
I understand you might not understand the "Custom PC" area of the admin cp
(hard to explain) so I can explain it more later, but I have the basic point
The last part of the admin CP is the 'orders' area.
1) We want to see everyone who is registered
2) We want to see all the saved orders on our site (who saved them, any
comments they left, etc)
3) We want to see all 'submitted' orders and be able to make 'comments' on
these orders (emails to the user)
4) See all 'buy now' orders and all the info.
5) We also want a status system where when we get an order it will say
something like "Step 1"(this will be shown in the user CP as well, and
updated in the admin CP). After we processor credit card we can update it to
"Step 2" (This also gets updated i nthe user CP. There will be multiple
'steps' (they will actually be more like "We have recieved your order",
"Your credit card has been processed", "Your computer has been shipped", and
things of that sort), around 7. When we are on the last step ("Your order
has been shipped"), we can then input tracking number (viewable by the
client as well).
This is basically all I can think of, but there are probably a few other
details I might have forgotten to mention. I know this is very long but I
included every possible detail for the best understanding of this project.
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