LogMatic is an alias I created to mask the identity of a project I worked on for a rapidly growing software development firm and their end client, a market-leading manufacturing company. It is therefore a small part of the original project that I redesigned and rebranded to create an NDA-compliant 'whitelabel' remake. But as you'll see, all the important stuff is still inside.
A 30-second summary if you're in a hurry
My roles: UX research & design, UI Design
The team: Waterfall project team at a development agency
End client: A market leading manufacturing firm
Favorite part: The special user environment
LogMatic is a whitelabel Employee Resource Management software intended for firms operating large warehouses or using them in their production chain. It provides a highly performant platform for employee task management and administration, taking into account the special circumstances of accident-prone workplaces, such as areas with material movers and other machinery.
I joined the original project's development team as an external designer. Our aim was to modernize the highly outdated workplace software in order to reduce errors, increase efficiency, and improve the employee and workplace experience.
The user and user environment research I conducted provided an abundance of important insights that helped me to not just deliver, but also improve the requested feature set, while keeping within technical specifications and satisfying client and user needs.
You can see the design in action in a Figma prototype that shows you a slightly redesigned submodule of the original project – take it for a spin!
The goal of the original project was to modernize the work administration software that is in use in the client's warehouses and production plants. The system in place – like many others still in place in manufacturing even today – was truly outdated, resembling more a Norton Commander from 1995 than anything else.
It is understandable that these systems are still in use, since manufacturing support software have to be reliable first and foremost, and everything else such as UX is way further down the list. Also, updating or evolving the interconnected but fragmented mesh of these systems is a large undertaking, with risks to productivity. Nevertheless, the old system was inefficient to use in an ever-evolving industry, and a source of frustration for the employees.
The end users and their work environment, or rather their atypical design aspect is actually why I chose to include this project. The first module I redesigned within the larger system allows me to present the design challenges in a nutshell.
The software module in question is intended for forklift operators and other warehouse personnel, and is adapted for the specialized, industrial-grade mounted tablets they use during their work. I studied the unusual, accident-prone environment and the work routines, which provided me with a multitude of governing factors. These set the direction for the interaction and UI design. The factors I synthetized could be categorized in three main groups:
the work environment (accidental touch prevention is a must, there is no room for distractions, lighting conditions vary widely from one spot to the other, and so on);
the hardware (screen sizes vary, the positioning of the tablets limits interactions and legibility, etc.);
and the operators themselves (touch consistency can be low due to movement or vibrations, some types of touch interactions are hard to perform, and so forth).
I also distilled the collected data in micro-journeys and user stories. These were then updated where necessary to fit the technical requirements and limitations provided by the development team.
Design for Reliability
Besides helping to deliver the requested features and to develop new ones along the technical specifications during this waterfall project, naturally I had to incorporate the above factors and results in the design as well. They affected and defined the user flows, the features, the types of interactions, the layout, and the UI design. To give some examples of the design :
There are no swipe-touch interactions, since they rely on maintaining touch contact and performing a precise touch release, both of which are difficult to achieve in the given use conditions
Individual interaction time is minimized for efficiency and safety
The interface is dark-mode for good readability in the usually dim lighting conditions, but with enough contrast to ensure readability
Touch targets are never smaller than 80px for easy operation and to prevent user slips
Only essential elements are shown by default to reduce cognitive load, and information display is more segmented than on a regular dashboard-like interface
You can give the activity logging submodule a spin in this Figma prototype to see it in action (I recommend resizing the tab or window down to tablet size) – or, check out some of the screens below.