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Optimising hardware compliance challenges with an innovative digital service design

Engineering & Calibration • Spinout
Service Design • Research • Product Design
22 months

A multinational specialising in energy innovation, sustainability and automation products and solutions. They are a Fortune 500 company employing close to 150,000 people globally.

I worked with their Eurotherm brand, who specialise in hardware products for controlling conditions such as temperature and pressure during manufacturing processes.

Tackling complexity and exploring user scenarios

Work started by understanding a complex and heavily regulated industry and the people who work in it.

Getting to grips with the industry processes and terminology was crucial to facilitate meaningful conversations with stakeholders and customers alike. Interviews with stakeholders and domain experts helped de-mystify the domain, and surfaced challenges we would face throughout the project.

Understanding current processes allowed me to identify opportunities for improvement and innovation. User scenarios were explored in workshops with stakeholders, and through shadowing sessions with users of existing systems.

I collaborated with my colleague Natasha Popoola (Senior UX Designer & Researcher) for the first 3 months ofthe project’s Discovery phase. I then undertook the remainder of the project as the team’s sole Design Lead.

Seeing problems first hand

Seeing professional’s frustrations up close gave me a better appreciation of the problems to be solved. Stories emerged of the day to day processes EOS would aim to improve.

Through time with planners, engineers and plant managers, a vision of the design challenges and product value proposition emerged. It would include solving the problems of key personas in the calibration process; plant managers, planners, auditors and test engineers.

Exploring solutions, together

The Eurotherm Online Services (EOS) ecosystem would be made up of several components working together to provide a connected planning, calibration, and certification service.

Each component presented it’s own challenges, explored through workshops with stakeholders and interface sketching sessions.
Strong ideas were refined outside of these sessions, ready for playback to the rest of the team.

Sketching ideas on paper allowed for rapid iteration and fast feedback loops. Where higher-fidelity was needed, sketches were converted to more polished digital wireframes. Wherever appropriate, the timeline from sketch to prototype was kept as short as possible.

Testing prototypes in real-life scenarios

Rapid prototyping was a crucial way of gathering feedback about our product ideas. Prototyping and testing throughout the project de-risked the investment made by Schneider, and maintained team confidence in our direction of travel. Course corrections could be made based on this valuable feedback.

Testing of our products needed to be robust and realistic, and this meant going to the coalface with the people who would use them. One of our alpha test partners was based in Northern Ireland, and I would make multiple visits to them during the testing phases of the project. This included visits to site, where I was able to shadow their engineers as they carried out test work using both existing paper-based processes and the calibration app prototype.

Delivering a product design system

I was involved for every phase of the product design process, including interface visual design. I also delivered a pattern library of EOS UI elements. Using the recently developed Schneider Global brand guidelines as reference, I explored the visual design of both the EOS planning product and the eCAT calibration app.

Part of the pattern library for the EOS planning product.

eCat required specialised graphic design elements to suit the context of it’s use. eCat would be used in challenging conditions; low light, often in out of reach areas of manufacturing plants. Some engineers would also be using their non dominant hand for inputting values, meaning accuracy could be a problem.

I developed app styles with extra large hit areas, high visibility validation and alerts, and high contrast display styles for low light conditions. Styleguides were delivered for all product components, helping developers work more efficiently and providing UI building blocks for future work. I collaborated closely with the development team throughout the development of EOS and eCat.

Launching an innovative compliance ecosystem

We would bring to market a digital product to handle the test planning, management, and certification of specialised of hardware used in Eurotherm partner industries. This included development of a tablet app for use by test engineers, replacing paper systems. Delivering instant certification, this app would be a groundbreaking innovation for the industry.

The delivered service and product would consist of three key pillars:

Online planning software

- Alerts planner of due tests and most appropriate engineer for the job.
- Automatically syncs engineer tasks and procedures with test application.
- Cloud-based record of all test results and hardware profiles.

A still from the EOS promotional video produced to coincide with service launch
Calibration tablet app (eCat)

- Replaces commonly used, error- prone paper recording methods.
- Time on site reduced: test guidance included with each synced job.
- Instant syncing of results into cloud- based EOS customer records.

Certification process

- Certificates generated instantly through eCat app.
- Auditors can view compliance status by scanning QR code on label next to tested hardware.

The new product would launch with high demand for service, with wait list at launch and positive feedback from early adopters. Average certification time drastically reduced, one of the key metrics that would drive success of the EOS platform.

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