The Importance of User Experience in an Industrial Environment

João Prior


User Experience Industrial Environment
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Whenever we’re talking about user experience (UX), we immediately think about transforming a product in order to become more intuitive and easy to use. For example, if you have to design the interface of a mobile app, you need to start by answering questions like: why will someone use this app? What will the user do with it? What will he or she feel after interacting with it? You consider and analyze the practical and emotional components of the product from the perspective of the end-user — the person — that will use it.

If we’re talking about consumer-facing products like a B2C app, or even mundane objects like a toaster or a coffee machine, UX is an indisputable part of the process of creation. You want your product to help your consumer perform the task in the simplest way possible, feel good about it, and share with friends what an incredible experience that was. But, when we move the spectrum to the industrial environment, that certainty in UX loses its place.

The thing is, even with the development of process automation software, highlighted by the growing glory of artificial intelligence and Internet of Things, there’s still plenty of manual work performed by humans in the industrial field. However, because the machines and software that these people use are not consumer-facing, no one expects that the user — the factory employee, for example — to share how great his or her experience was with his or her friends; it’s just a part of the job. That’s why we tend to neglect UX in industrial environments.

But UX can make the difference. Instead of having a complex system, that takes weeks to learn how to use, a good UX can help you decrease the training times and costs while helping your employees perform their tasks must faster. Overall, a good UX can help you increase your company’s efficiency.

And that’s not breaking news for all companies.

UX on industrial environment
User Experience — Industrial Environment

The Case of Aralab

Aralab was aware of this new reality. A manufacturer of climatic chambers for almost 30 years, the biotech company was looking for solutions to increase its market presence in a highly competitive market.

When its R&D department developed the Ferrari of the climatic chambers, the company knew that just building it with the latest innovative materials wasn’t enough to gain advantage over its competition; it was essential to also deliver a better and friendlier experience up to the quality of the new product.

So, with a multidisciplinary team composed by UX and UI designers from Hi Interactive and developers from Aralab, the biotech company created a brand new user interface that integrated to its latest chamber. This way, the company was able to simplify the way how the users interact with the machine and completely transform the user experience. Apart from an innovative chamber, Aralab delivered a friendlier solution that will help its users do their jobs faster and more efficiently.

“We built a new chamber with a unique product design but we felt it wasn’t enough to have a new climatic chamber with innovative materials and less energy consumption; we also felt the need to update the way the users interact with the machine by upgrading the controller and the entire user experience. This way the Aralab customer not only has a great climatic chamber but also has a great user experience. ”

Marco Soares, CMO at Aralab

Check out what we’ve been up to with Aralab.

The case of A-to-Be

In the same way, A-to-Be, the department of innovation for the highway management company Brisa, was looking to improve the user experience of its self-service tolling machine. The existing equipment didn’t have an interface that allowed people to choose the method of payment; clients had to pay using a coin bucket, which led to an increase of the traffic jam due to the time it took to perform the payment.

So, A-to-Be wanted to redesign the interface to simplify the payment process, making it easy for even people who had never used the self-service system before. This project involved two fronts: enhancing the experience for the client and the operator.

With the support of a UX team from Hi Interactive, A-to-Be delivered a new face for the tolling system allowing the payment through banknotes, credit card, or coins. As a result, the simplicity of the new back-office and customer-facing screen resulted in faster transactions and a smoother traffic jam.

“We needed to have a more specialized approach for the interface, and, of course, we also needed some good looks for the interface itself. This project aimed at delivering a back-office. We needed some good visuals, to design an efficient interface for both end-users and back-office users, and for the customer service center. And it went really well.”

Rui Dias, A-to-Be, A-T-M-P Product Manager

Check out what we’ve been up to with A-to-Be.

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