BY ASAMOAH JOSEPH
The Internet is an integral part of our lives. With it, we communicate; gather news, network with friends and colleagues, and share information and resources. Today, we see many businesses – large and small – using websites as a platform to sell a product or provide a service. However, we have realized that there is lack of a free, user-friendly interface that independent business owners can use to operate their businesses online. We wanted to provide business owners with an easy-to-use online store interface to sell their products and services. The interface also allows Internet users to buy those products and services. The main purpose of the interface is to facilitate interactions and transactions between a business and its customers.
Functionality and Features
Our interface is divided into two sections: owner’s interface and customer’s interface. The customer’s interface is accessible to any user on the World Wide Web. It’s primarily purpose is to allow customers to browse and view products, and place orders for those products. The owner’s interface is accessible only to the business owner and requires an administrative login. Its primary purpose is to allow business owners to manage their product inventory and orders.
In order for owners to successfully operate their businesses online, we implemented the following basic functionality: Log in to the owner’s portal, Upload and edit product images and descriptions, Manage inventory, Manage orders received from customers. We want owners to be able to operate their businesses online entirely, just as storeowners want to conduct all of their business operations on-site. By allowing business owners to upload product images and assign descriptions to their products, we encourage the owner’s sense of propriety over his or her business. We want to make the interface easy to use so that the owner has a great sense of control over the tools used to operate his or her web-based business. In order for all business operations to take place on the website, the owner must also be able to receive and manage orders from customers using our interface. To further facilitate the operations of the business owner, we implemented the following advanced functionality: Allow products to be categorized into groups, Allow shipped orders to be associated with package tracking numbers, Allow owner to send email notifications to all customers. This advanced functionality is intended to facilitate the business owner’s communication with his or her customers, as well as allow the business owner to make his or her business more individualized. Our owner’s interface is primarily composed of 7 pages: Owner. This is the owner’s login page. The following 5 pages of the owner’s portal are for administrative access only and also require the ownercheck.inc page (i.e. using require () function). View_inv. This page allows the owner to view and manage the product inventory. It neatly displays in a table each product’s ID, category, title, unit price, last modified date, quantity sold, and quantity remaining. Inventory products can be searched by title, viewed by category, and modified and deleted from the inventory. Clicking on the product title will take the owner to the product page in the customer’s interface. Clicking on the “Modify” link will allow the owner to update the product information on the following page. Upload_prod. This page allows the owner to: 1) upload product information under the default mode, and 2) update product information under the “update” mode. The owner can upload a product image, select a product category, and input product title, unit price, quantity sold, quantity remaining, and shipping costs. Manage_cate.This page allows the owner to manage product categories. The owner can add, change, or delete categories, and then commit to the changes or...