Online Interactive DVD Rental System Research Paper Introduction:
Glued DVD Rental System is a shop whose main purpose is to rent videos and movies to its customers or members of the system. It started as one shop whose operations were a bit slow and business low before the concept was absorbed into the market in its area of operations. With good marketing strategies being used to create awareness about the services offered by the shop and improvement of the quality of service offered, business picked with time and was able to expand and increase its customer base and productivity. To date Glued has 7 shops that are distributed in the metropolitan area and serves a large customer base having about 150 transactions per day (Hammerton, 2009).
Glued DVD Rental system is manual. A normal transaction involves a customer going to one of Glued shops, presenting his membership card if one is a member or registering as a member if the customer is new. The attendant will then use the customer’s membership information to access the customer’s file. This will usually take some time, about ten to fifteen minutes, so the customer will usually be looking through a list of the latest movies and DVDs. Once the file is found, the customer orders for movies and is informed of the cost of renting, parts with a small fee and pays the rest once he returns the movie. The attendant updates the information on the customer’s file and on the system to indicate which movies have been rented and by which customer. (Hammerton, 2009)
The nature of the manual techniques of operations is tiresome, complex and full of errors and is susceptible to loss and corruption of sensitive data. The problem is creating and implementing a new interactive online system to convert the old manual system into a new computerized system (Wilson & Johnson 1996).
Having to deal with about 150 transactions per day in one shop when all the work is done on paper means that the overall work done is too much and hectic. This is because as stated earlier, in order to serve a customer the attendant has to look for the customer’s file out of the many files kept for the customers, has to update the information of the transaction on different files, one for the customer and one for the system and when the customer returns the DVDs the attendant has to once again look for the file and update it and all the other files. This is hectic considering that the attendant serves about 150 customers per day and the customers have to be patient and wait through the entire process of acquiring the files. (O’Brien 2002).
Tracking due dates for return of DVDs and payments also becomes extremely difficult. This is because so many transactions will have been undertaken and tracing the files of the customers served is difficult and time consuming. (Nowak, 2010).
Due to this, accuracy of all the operations undertaken in the system is low and therefore leading to a decrease in productivity as well as quality of service. Inaccurate customer data is captured while information of the available discs and payment also tends to be inaccurate. For instance, not having the correct amount of money expected from a customer including fines for delay in returning the discs would mean that the attendant will ask the customer to pay a lesser amount than he should amounting to losses.( Johnson 1996).
Monitoring customer details also proves to be an uphill task. Observing the law’s requirement on age restriction on adult movies becomes close to impossible as it is difficult to keep a track of the age of the customers over time to determine if they are authorized to access adult movies. Security is another major issue in the manual system. When information is stored on paper, physical files and cabinets, storage and security of the files is vulnerable owing to the fact that the files could be easily lost, stolen or even damaged. Unauthorized personnel could easily access the files and can tamper with and manipulate the information to suit their interests. Accidents such as fire, floods and even entry by small animals such as rodents could easily destroy the files leading to loss of information. Files could also be misplaced intentionally or unintentionally leading to the same consequences. The store cannot operate without this information and therefore loss of data only means that operations of the store would be paralyzed or seriously compromised (Kielsen & Keith.2010).
This manual system does experience a lot of unnecessary delays and wastes time that could otherwise have been used to serve other customers and conduct other managerial activities aimed at maximizing productivity. An automated system would eliminate queues and lead to speedy service and consequently improve the quality of service. (Kielsen & Keith, 2010).
To tackle the existing problems in the manual system, there are possible solutions. These include: creating a new system, improving the existing manual system, buying a package that has been written specifically for such an application, customizing existing software to suit the needs of the store or writing a tailor made program for the system. After conducting a feasibility study, it was clear that the most efficient approach was creating a new computerized system as it is the least expensive with ease of implementation, ease of use, high levels of functionality and required fewer resources. No such system exists in the business and therefore it justifiable to undertake this approach to completely transform the system for maximized productivity. These problems will be solved by replacing the manual systems with computerized ones (Kielsen & Keith, 2010).
To create the computerized system and improve the performance, I will replicate and redesign some of the current features in the system. The policy of membership will be unchanged and new customers will have to register as members in order to enjoy the rental services. Due dates and fines on delay in returning the discs will also remain. Age restrictions will also be observed since the system will be configured to only allow access to authorized customers. Features such as manual storage will be metamorphosed to computerized storage, interaction with attendants will only take place when necessary as customers will feed their requests on a computer at whatever location and have the discs shipped to them (O’Brien, 2002).
Computerizing the manual system will mean having a database where all information required in the system that can be easily retrieved when needed. This means that a lot of time is saved when accessing customer information as it is acquired by a click of a button. Security of information is enhanced as it is possible to prevent unauthorized access into the system by use of passwords and biometric techniques to ascertain the identity of customers. Encryption of data and use of antivirus software will also prevent altering of information and back up of data will ensure that data can be retrieved in case of accidental loss or interception. Accuracy levels in a computerized system are high and it is able to tell incorrect information that has been keyed in, collect and analyzed the data in the system and even filter large amounts of information in seconds. With information in one database monitoring payments and updating information is made so easy and fast making all operations in the system efficient. With this computerized system therefore, the store will be able to update and validate information when necessary, save on time and resources, record and retrieve accurate data and produce accurate reports, control and check the accuracy of data and enhance security ( Johnson,& Johnson1989).
The advantage of using task analysis in the design of this interactive system is that allows the participation of the customers on the design because it is made in accordance to their needs and also allows the designers to understand what the customers’ need which is vital in designing the system. It is applied throughout the design process which means that the process should be flexible enough to adapt to changing needs. The process involves analyzing and modelling of work tasks, envisioning work and designing the user interface. It will give a detailed description of the scope of operation, current work, activities to be undertaken, nature of tasks and the overall process. With task analysis, the designer will be able to come up with an easy to use system and understand the user interface that will make renting of DVDs much easier. It should be easy for the customer to navigate through the system, to order for discs, to pay, to follow up on transactions and delivery of discs, and give feedback. The user interface should also update users on new developments, incorporate user control and freedom, enhance consistency, adhere to standards, be able to detect errors and recover from them, be flexible, efficient, and relevant and have help and documentation mechanisms.
Netflix is one of the most common and widely used interactive online DVD rental systems in America. The designers paid attention to Nielsen’s heuristics on User interface design. When I logged in, the user interface was attractive and easy to use. I could recognize the icons on the system and know what they represented. The system also informed me on the processes taking place. Its performance was consistent for instance; whenever I selected a particular video it processed the request the same way. It was easy to navigate and find items and gave me enormous freedom of choice. The help option was available and was functional and provided me with information as and when needed. It was also able to detect errors for instance as I was watching a video through instant streaming and I got a video call the system went into a timeout state and when I was done it resumed from where it had paused. This feature impressed me. Netflix designers indeed had Nielsen’s heuristics in mind or rather have been seen pay attention to these heuristics when designing the user interface.
Prospective users of this system are citizens of United Kingdom countries which will include all ages as the system will serve customers of varied ages including: children, teenagers and also adults. Glued also wishes to expand to the United States and Asia where the technology has been embraced. It will provide movies and videos from Hollywood which are high on demand and Bollywood too to meet the demands of its customers. To define the user group and target for this system, research is necessary to understand user needs and this will help define the target group for the system. Conducting interviews is one of the best tools that can be used. Interviews held revealed that the user group for this interactive online DVD rental system consisted of people who preferred and who are accustomed to and who have easy access to the web or internet .It also revealed that customers were teenagers and adults that needed the movies and videos to indulge in during their leisure time. It was also clear that most of the customers chose to buy Hollywood and Bollywood movies and videos. This information was garnered from asking questions such as the variety of discs rented most, age and gender of the customers, the method of renting preferred by most customers among others. (Wilson & Johnson, 1996).
In conclusion, the implementation of a computerized online interactive DVD rental system makes perfect sense as it is efficient and the design processes used such as task analysis are vital in determining the success of the system and the business at large.
Hammerton J(2009) Glued online DVD profile. Green goose publishers
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Johnson P. (1996).Models that Shape Design: Human Factors in Computing Systems.ACM Press.
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Nowak P. (2010). Netflix Launches Canadian Movie Service.CBC News. Retrieved from: http://address Netflix.com
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