Design and Usability: why the user is always right


We have been offering services for design and usability since 2014. Our portfolio ranges from medical devices and lab equipment, sanitary and household equipment, to power tools and industry plants. For a complete product development, we work closely with our engineers. This combination of design and engineering allows us to develop products that inspires the user with its design and satisfies the user with a flawless performance (avidity through design).

How can we provide good industrial design for products from such different areas? The requirements for a medical device and a hot plate are not exactly identical, after all. The answer is that in both cases that the user and all people interacting in some way with the device are paramount. The needs of the people interacting with a device are key for a successful product, and we place these needs front and center.

To reach the goal of a user-focused device, we apply our design and usability process containing the following phases: research, conception, testing, mitigation, and validation. In all of these phases, we seek to closely involve the client and collaborate with our engineers. Within each phase, we regularly communicate with our clients using different formats to create a basis for decisions about concepts and features.

We start with a research phase, during which we gather information about the users and the context of the product, to be able to make decisions concerning the design and derive a first round of concepts. It is not always easy to recognize and meet the needs of a 80 year old patient and a 30-year old nurse for one and the same product! Which type of human-machine interface is possible? Which touch points exist? Knowing about the environment in which a product will be placed and used is similarly important, as this often influences the requirements for robustness and handling.

First proposals and concepts are created using sketches and moodboards during the conception phase and might look like this:

We want to make the product imaginable, touchable, and testable.

In the testing phase, this aspect becomes even more important. Using ergonomic models (volume and shape mock-ups), simple system installations from cardboard or functioning usability mock-ups (demonstrators), ,we scrutinize the human-machine interaction and gain valuable information about the user behavior and the serviceability of the design.

Based on the results from the testing, we find out whether the product can be operated as intuitively as we though, or whether the ergonomics are suitable for different hands.

At the end of the mitigation and validation phase we have a sustainable product which delight the user with its looks, its handling, and its functionality.

We would love to discuss with you personally which steps are necessary and sensible for the development of your future product. We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Author: Maria Rudin