TenderBoard Update – Sharing what we’ve been up to (hint: major site updates!)

Our mission is to help companies find tenders in Singapore. We have been thinking hard about how we can do this better and have come up with a framework to think about how we can deliver. The first step is in recognizing that our mission actually consists of several sub-tasks:

  1. Monitoring the complete pool of tenders in Singapore across all tender hosting sites
  2. Filtering tenders from this pool while ensuring users are not updated with false positives (or worse, that there are false negatives)
  3. Sending daily email updates to each user with consistent and effective delivery
  4. Presenting updates in a manner that facilitates ease of understanding

We are really excited to be launching new features that improve all of these areas, as well as UI/UX improvements on our site:

  1. Increase in number of monitored tender hosting sites to a total of 19
  2. Improved tenders notification email:
    • Enhanced keyword matching to ensure better quality updates
    • Third party email service for email sending
    • Improved email formatting with a focus on organization and presentation
  3. UI/UX improvements:
    • New front page
    • Clean navigation
    • Streamlined forms and workflows

Increase in number of monitored tender hosting sites

We have taken the number of tender hosting sites tracked to 19, improving the coverage of our notifications service. However, we aren’t resting yet – we have already identified several more sites to be added and will keep going till we have 100% coverage!

Enhanced notifications service and email

We have improved our keyword filtering algorithm to only flag as matches words that have the keyword as their root. For example, if you were in the event management industry and used the keyword “event”, our old algorithm would have flagged out tenders that contain the words “event” and “events”, but also those that contain words like “prevent” and “eleventh”. Our new algorithm ensures that your keyword forms the root of matched words, such that cases like “prevent” and “eleventh” would no longer appear for the keyword “event. This would reduce the number of false positives. However, it still does not eliminate the false positive cases in which the keyword legitimately forms the root of the word, such as “eventual”. We have more ideas brewing so do look forward to even better tender matching soon.

We had reports that our emails were not consistently delivered. Instead of trying to manage our own email servers, we have shifted our emails to ride on the Mandrill service by MailChimp. Mandrill provides the plumbing to ensure that emails are consistently delivered and has a ton of reporting tools that allow us to see how our emails are doing. We will be monitoring our emails delivery with Mandrill and look forward to better notifications for you.

Our old notification email was formatted in plain text and might not have presented the data in a way that was intuitive and easy to understand. We have since shifted to a format based on HTML and use tables to cleanly and clearly present data. Take a look:

We believe the better presentation and organization helps you better grasp the opportunities that are being compiled for you.

UI/UX improvements

We are a big believer in how little things add up and have made some tweaks that get us closer to that great experience we hope to deliver.

  1. A brand new “infinity front page”: ok, so maybe “infinity front page” isn’t a proper term, but we have consolidated most of our previous pages into a single front page. Gone are the “Services” and “Pricing” pages. Instead, we now have a single front page that lists what we are do, how we do it and the pricing tiers.
  2. Clean navigation: We have cleaned up the navigation and menus of the site. The header is now a single row (double for some mobile devices) and contains only the essentials. It also changes depending on whether you are logged in or not. We have an expanded footer where a summary of blogs as well as non-essential links go.
  3. New forms: Our forms (login/registration/password reset/contact us) have been revamped with a minimalist feel, focusing on the data to be filled in.
  4. New workflows: We have brought the notification keywords into the registration process, asking for users to provide us this data when they sign up. This is so that we can start the notifications service immediately upon account approval (the old process required the user to log in, change password, then set keywords….by which time a lot of drop off could have occurred). Users are now also brought immediately to the open tenders page to browse and search for tenders upon log in. Processes are so, so important and we continue to streamline our site workflows to ensure you have a smooth experience.

So that’s it for this round of updates. Do feel free to drop us a note and let us know if you had any thoughts about the UX/UI of our site. Stay tuned for more, the work continues!