Delivering Industry Solutions: The Opmantek Awards
At the end of Trimester 1 and 2, the School of ICT and multi-award-winning Software company, Opmantek, host the Opmantek Awards. The three to four most innovative project groups from the Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) program have the opportunity to present to a panel of industry judges to compete for a cash prize. It’s an opportunity for students to build on their presentation skills, network with industry and showcase their hard work.
This year, the Awards were held virtually with a lineup of four high-achieving finalist groups. The student projects ranged from the creation of early education platforms, to improving network performance for those working at home.
The winning group, Octadoc – Rhys Elliott, Benjamin Hambly and Man Jin – were awarded the prize of $2,500 for their innovative project and professional presentation. Their project involved the re-designing of an existing online tool, Octadoc, which allows a GP to record clinic notes more efficiently by streamlining the process.
Rhys, from team Octadoc, is in his final year of a Bachelor of Information Technology and shared his experiences from Work-Integrated Learning and the Opmantek Awards.
Benjamin Hambly, Man Jin and Rhys Elliott
What was your Work Integrated Learning project?
Our project was officially called the “Octadoc UX/UI Revisions and Improvements” project, but we just called it Octadoc! It was given to Griffith University by our client, Dr Inês Baptista, who had actually organised the system to be developed externally once before but wanted the system to be redesigned to be more user friendly.
What Octadoc does is essentially provide General Practitioners with an interface that they can use to record clinical notes from all of the patients they see every single day. It sounded simple enough but when we started going through the original version, we started to see how complicated it could be. As medicine is such a large field, the original version was extremely bloated with different styles of inputs with different information, along with a multitude of inconsistent colours – it was no wonder she wanted it redesigned!
One of the most important things we decided we could do was to implement a single, consistent button style that wouldn’t over-populate the interface but would also be simple enough to make sense to any user. These designs went through a couple of iterations as the team tried to find a style that fit with what the client wanted, but we ultimately came up with something that all of us loved! The rest of the designs were all kind of informed from that same style (to keep it consistent) which made it really easy to build a system that made sense.
We also had the opportunity to expand on what Octadoc was originally designed to do and add a custom feature where users could create their own input templates, instead of using the pre-designed ones. This was one of, if not the most challenging parts of the project as designing a system that provided a basic user with options to essentially build new inputs was no easy task. It was extremely difficult to create an interface that was easy to understand, but also provide enough options for the experience to be worth it. Again, after a lot of hard work in the final sprint, we finally produced something that worked – just in the nick of time!
With a brand-new interface, user options, and the ability to create your own templates, the Octadoc system that our WIL team designed is going to save GP’s hours and hours of work every single week!
What was the highlight of your WIL Project?
One of the absolute highlights for me, and this is going to sound corny, was working in a team that absolutely smashed it! I’m sure everyone has heard horror stories of working in a team where someone didn’t carry their weight, or someone was too bossy, or the members just didn’t get along – but the Octadoc team were amazing! We would discuss tasks and goals, talk about how to achieve what we wanted to, and we’d get it done.
There was so much collaboration, despite being isolated during a pandemic, and it was just really enjoyable to log on and see what the other members of the team had created while you were doing your stuff.
Another big highlight, for all of us, was learning a new skill. The original designs for Octadoc had been done in a program called Figma, which is a collaborative cloud-based program for making wireframes and interface prototypes. We were all a bit worried when we found this out because none of us had actually used Figma before, so the concept of creating something for an industry client with a program that all of us had to learn from scratch was terrifying. So in the early stages of the project, we put in a bit of time playing around with the templates in the original design files, and, while attempting to create our own sets of icons, discovered that the program was actually really easy to learn.
By the end of the first week or two, all three of us were seamlessly designing and creating interface elements using a program that, up until recently, some of us had never even heard of. It was so much fun learning new ways to create things, and even more fun seeing our designs become better and easier to produce as our skill levels in Figma went up. Personally, I now prefer using Figma over other interface design tools that I would have used in the past and learning that skill was extremely rewarding!
What is the value of the Opmantek Awards for students?
Besides the monetary value of $2500 (which was amazing!), there are huge unseen values to winning the Opmantek award! Our team spent 13 weeks doing the single term WIL project to produce something that all of us were extremely proud of, and to be recognised among not only our peers, but also academics and industry leaders – it was a feeling I can’t describe!
Even just to be a part of the awards, just to be nominated, it felt like all the hard work we put in was really worth it!
At the end of the day, it’s a huge boost to your confidence, and for me personally I know my Mum couldn’t have been more proud!
As winners of Opmantek, what impact do you think this achievement will have on your future beyond Griffith University?
Opmantek is a globally recognised name in Information Technology and has been for over 20 years. To have won the 2020 Opmantek Award and have their “seal of approval” as it were is a massive boost to our employability prospects beyond Griffith. It will show to employers and industry professionals that we know what we’re doing, we’re good at what we do, and have the award to prove it!
Winning the award was a huge confidence booster, especially in terms of engaging with leaders in industry. If I can stand there in front of a board of industry professionals, present the work we’ve done, answer all of their questions, as well as any from the rest of the audience in attendance, and still impress them enough to win the Opmantek Award – a job interview sounds like a walk in the park!