Leading automotive manufacturers such as Mercedes, Daimler and BMW insist on using this high-end calibration system. The brand stands for exceptional quality and unparalleled high standards of precision. The equipment is also used by technicians in authorised inspection centers and independent garages.
The company reached out to our UX design agency with the goal to define a new standard for the user experience and the visual user interface design. The newest generation of the calibration equipment includes a small OEM display, a rugged tablet interface and an interface on large displays.
UI Design - Design System
The vision was to combine excellence in engineering with a niche defining user experience to defend the brand’s position in the automotive market.
The equipment is designed for high precision measurement and to offer speedy service. The usability of the system is an important ingredient to reduce the time it takes to process a vehicle. In addition, ease of use and an intuitive user interface reduce training costs.
The design strategy reflects the unique goals and challenges for this OEM software GUI. The interface had undergone 3 previous rounds of design, but they were all lead by engineers.
The workplan reflects our experience as a UX design agency. Activities are planned in parallel to speed up delivery. User research and product design feed into UX design and prototyping. Visual design follows on, until engineers take over a fully documented design system.
With the pandemic underway, user research was carried out remotely with users in Germany. We combined two user research methods: contextual interviews and semi-structured interviews.
Contextual interviews informed us about actual usage and real-life pain points. Users described how they use the equipment, as if they would teach a beginner.
Semi-structured user interviews gave authentic insight into the realities on the shop floor. They start with a set of questions and then the conversation evolves freely.
A multitude of perspectives must converge in GUI design: user needs, technical constraints, product features, branding, usability standards, etc.
A high standard of project management is necessary to stay on track and to disseminate the evolution of the UX design.
We used dynamic formats in Notion to encourage all stakeholders to participate in the design project. The documentaton provides a clear overview of how the product thinking evolves, the insights that underpin the user experience solutions and recommendations for implementation.
The GUI developed by our UX agency is not original just for the sake of it. Creativity results from a systematic process where we review multiple information source to making the right UX decisions.
Benchmarking is a distinct activity in this context. Overall it lead us to recognise what doesn’t work and that is valuable. Looking at failed attempts has helped us channel our efforts to solve the puzzle of the optimal user interface.
The previous embedded GUI design had come about in 3 iterations led by engineers. While it is simple and minimalistic, it doesn’t address the user’s pain points in a meaningful way.
Overall it lacks clarity and it has no visual hierarchy. Individual components lack specificity and they are not expressive. As a consequence, the user interface must be explained in user manuals and training sessions.
The new embedded GUI design brings to life a simple process for the workshop technicians. It’s straightforward so users can focus on their job and avoid safety hazards.
The clear visual hierarchy makes for a concise interface. But if you look closer, you’ll see how details address specific pain points that users experience in real life.
The timeframe was short but we were able to leverage the experience of our agency in UX design for OEM software.
There were 3 key success factors in this GUI design project: the close cooperation with all stakeholders, the inclusion of user research as a basis for design decisions and an iterative design process lead by senior designers.
The visual UI is expressive of a design aesthetic that is based in functionality, where each component in the GUI reaches a balance between what is technically possible and what is meaningful to users.
The end result is a best-in-class embedded interface that requires no training and demonstrates the brand promise of excellence in automotive equipment.
Best in class user experience
Fully documented UI design system for developers
New user interface requires no training
GUI becomes selling point for the high-end system