Client
ColijnIT
Project
Web-based 3D room planner
Technology
Angular

Software solutions for the furniture industry

Colijn IT and Salsita partner to create web-based 3D room planner for the furniture industry

Introduction

When Colijn IT went looking for a software partner to develop a world-class 3D room planner, most web agencies they contacted felt the project was too difficult. Salsita embraced the challenge and delivered a slick, high-performance solution. The product offers features comparable to competing solutions from much larger teams.

Proactive approach and deep technical expertise

About ColijnIT

Colijn IT is a Netherlands-based provider of software solutions to the furniture industry. Their products include the iONE ERP system and a state-of-the-art 3D furniture configurator. Their internal team handles most of their software development needs. However, they decided to seek an outside agency to tackle the front-end development of some specialized 3D and augmented reality projects.

About David Colijn

David Colijn, a seasoned product manager and marketeer, led the search for the right software development agency.

They have proven instrumental in rolling out the new product with potentially major impact on our business.

David Colijn David Colijn Product Manager, Colijn IT B.V.

Among the agencies he contacted, Salsita's proactive approach and deep technical expertise stood out. The first project undertaken by Salsita was an augmented reality proof-of-concept, allowing users to place 3D furniture models into a photograph of a room and visualize them with the correct scale and perspective. In only three weeks, Salsita delivered a working prototype.

A world-class room planner for the web browser

The Challenge

A few months later, David was ready to kick off a more ambitious project: a sophisticated 3D room planner. The project was undertaken in collaboration with Habufa, a large Dutch furniture manufacturer. Thanks to their long-standing focus on the furniture industry, Colijn IT had a strong grasp of challenges faced by today's furniture retailers. In particular, retailers struggle in the online age to engage customers and attract them to bricks-and-mortar outlets.

Requirements

Colijn IT turned to Salsita to implement the room planner front-end. The requirements were demanding:

  1. Run in any modern web browser
  2. Design a room of any size and shape using simple drag-and-drop
  3. Add photo-realistic windows and doors
  4. Change the texture of the floor and walls using built-in patterns or uploaded photos
  5. Add 3D furniture models, move and rotate them
  6. Integrate with Colijn IT's backend ERP solution
  7. Integrate with the iONE product configurator in order to customize real-life furniture in place (change elements, shape, color, material, etc.)

The Solution

Using Google's popular Angular web framework, Salsita implemented the room planner from the ground up. One unique innovation is the integration of Colijn IT's configurator, allowing users to customize furniture directly inside the 3D room model. The product also benefits from Colijn IT's strength in back-office solutions. Unlike similar products, it interfaces with the retailer's ERP system. Users are thus able to access real-time catalog information and place furniture orders directly from the room planner.

Salsita project manager Karel Klima elaborated on some of the project's challenges. "Designing the user interface and overall user experience of this project was tough because of all the various types of end users. We needed to make the application feature-packed and precise so that it would be suitable for professional interior decorators, but at the same time the final product had to feel easy to use and game-like so that anyone can use it."

The first release of the product offers an impressive range of powerful features with butter-smooth performance. One particular challenge faced by the team was collision detection, something similar products often get wrong. Explains Salsita tech lead Craig Bishell: "The last thing you want is the app telling a customer they can fit a new couch in their living room, only for them to get it home and find out it doesn't fit by a centimetre -- and it turns out that is a hard problem to get both accurate and fast. We had to consult quite a few academic articles about advanced collision detection strategies, but I really enjoy that kind of learning as part of my job."

Unlike the others, Salsita embraced the challenge and has proven capable of creating a slick and sophisticated 3D web front-end.

David Colijn David Colijn Product Manager, Colijn IT B.V.

Above all, David appreciated Salsita's proactive approach. At one point, their UX specialists had some ideas about how to improve the usability of the sidebar that lets users add items to the room. Thanks to their input and the work of Colijn IT's own UX team, the product is easy to understand and use, even when applying powerful and complex functionality.

Most of the agencies we contacted didn’t want to touch the project. It is very different and far more challenging than your average web app. .

David Colijn David Colijn Product Manager, Colijn IT B.V.

Says David Colijn, "When we kicked off development of MyRoomPlans a couple of years ago, most of the agencies we contacted didn’t want to touch the project. It is very different and far more challenging than your average web app. Unlike the others, Salsita embraced the challenge and has proven capable of creating a slick and sophisticated 3D web front-end. Since the success of the first project, we have expanded the scope of the cooperation. They have proven instrumental in rolling out the new product with potentially major impact on our business."

Colijn IT is actively marketing the product throughout Europe and is currently in discussions with several furniture retail groups and independent retailers.

Meet the team

  • Karel Klima
    Karel Klima Project Manager

    Karel is a Technical Project Manager at Salsita who has a strong background in computer science, web applications, and law. When he's not leading projects at Salsita, you can find him immersed in music, action movies, or recruiting his colleagues to go curling.

  • Craig Bishell
    Craig Bishell React, Angular, Node.

    Craig has broad experience across a large number of industries and technologies. His pragmatism and clear communication enable work alongside client users ranging from frontline support to executives. When AFK, he enjoys tabletop gaming and cocktail mixing/drinking.

  • David Hanus
    David Hanus React, Angular, Node.

    David is a problem-solving, Full-Stack Engineer who loves punching challenges in the face. That’s why being thrown into this cutting-edge 3D web technologies project was so much fun. In his free time he solves puzzles, picks locks, practices archery, cooks, and reads comics.

  • Axel De Acetis
    Axel De Acetis UI Developer

    Axel is a passionate and enthusiastic Front-End Developer who always goes the extra mile for his clients. He is detail-oriented, enjoys working with cutting-edge frameworks like ReactJS and AngularJS, and occasionally doesn’t mind being pushed out of his comfort zone.

  • Petr Micko
    Petr Micko QA Engineer

    Petr is a seasoned QA Engineer and Test Automation Developer at Salsita. Even though he's more comfortable in the QA world, he’s also passionate about JavaScript. When he's not testing new code, you can find him at home reading sci-fi novels and enjoying family life.

  • Pavel Pribyl
    Pavel Pribyl QA Lead

    As Salsita’s QA Manager, Pavel enjoys imparting wisdom on his talented team, especially about developing testable React apps. He’s passionate about QA and strives to break negative stereotypes between QA and Devs. He always says, “QA is not the enemy, QA is your friend.”

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