Texas State University Case Study

Texas State University

University students use a multitude of e-commerce solutions created with Serif’s WebPlus and complete online forms created with PagePlus daily. The Student Business Services office is able to quickly develop convenient online payment websites for tuition fees, book sales, event and concert ticket sales and study abroad programs, among other items, thanks to Serif’s easy-to-use software.

Every hour of every day, different projects and technical issues get tossed at C. Marcus Bryant, a systems analyst with the Student Business Services office at Texas State University’s San Marcos campus. With student payments being a primary responsibility, Bryant creates electronic applications for students to pay for everything from housing fees to library fines.

Since tapping Serif’s WebPlus and PagePlus in 2000, Bryant has reduced production time for most e-payment applications and Web sites from months to weeks. Serif’s products have enabled his department to save the university the time and expense of lengthy development cycles while helping Bryant’s team present convenient e-payment options to students.

WebPlus allows us to quickly build prototype sites, test pretty much on the fly and present them to university officials for approval.

— Marcus Bryant,
Systems Analyst,
Texas State University’s
San Marcos campus

“I’m not a programmer, but we had to get things rolling,” said Bryant, who has been working at the university for 15 years. “Serif has been a huge time saver. I am a big fan of the products.”

WebPlus, Serif’s Web design solution, offers features to create outstanding, professional-quality Web sites without complicated code, programming or design experience required. WebPlus enables users to easily and affordably create Web sites with advanced features such as interactive forums, blogs, photo galleries, podcasts, videos, Flash animations, secure password protected pages and e-commerce.

Bryant bridges the gap between department heads and the programmers tasked with developing Web sites. After learning the business needs, he writes the specifications and works with the computer programmers to create a multitude of applications to collect and refund money to and from students including tuition fees, refunds and loan disbursements, book sales, event and concert ticket sales, conference registration fees and study abroad payments. While many Web sites and applications were complicated and taking several months from start to finish, Bryant found that many could easily be created using WebPlus and eliminating the need to bring in the programmers. WebPlus gives Bryant the power of rapid deployment so other departments are not waiting endlessly on their development requests.

“WebPlus allows us to quickly build prototype sites, test pretty much on the fly and present them to university officials for approval,” said Bryant. “The applications have been a huge success.”

For example, Bryant and his team recently needed to create a registration solution for nurses coming to campus for a training session. They had a tight window of a week to complete the project, but Web Plus enabled them to build a site and have it ready to go live in 30 minutes.

“That wasn’t a complex site, but it quickly did what we wanted it to,” said Bryant. “Serif’s products do an amazing job.”

Bryant has a basic working knowledge of HTML code, but he does not like to write the code himself. With WebPlus, once he creates his master page, he can simply drag elements to create other pages. Previously, other desktop publishing software programs left Bryant twisted up in trying to unravel their features, rather than working on his own projects.

“Other products were too complex for what I’m trying to do,” said Bryant. “The thing I like about WebPlus is it’s so intuitive and easy to learn when compared with other products that have buttons everywhere and that don’t really tell you what to do. With WebPlus the screen shows you the output exactly.”

In addition to using WebPlus, Bryant has also implemented Serif PagePlus to create some PDF forms for students, such as an application to request a property deposit. Bryant selected PagePlus because not only is it easy to use but it presented a significant cost saving for Bryant and his colleagues.

Bryant and his team currently use WebPlus 10 and PagePlus 11 as well as some hand-coding and some other solutions. Serif’s WebPlus and PagePlus are their go-to programs for most new projects. They also worked with WebPlus to design an e-payment template for the university that could be reused and customized for each department’s e-payment application needs.

“The ability to easily reuse templates and designs to build new sites is a huge time-saver. Serif products are so easy to use, rapid development is a breeze,” said Bryant. “WebPlus and PagePlus are nearly identical, which is a positive. Once you learn one product from Serif, you know them all. The interfaces are all seamless.”

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