In the B2B world, attention is increasing to guarantee a solution use experience that is satisfying and as natural as possible. A change that is leading to the diffusion of the concepts of User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) also in some sectors, such as manufacturing, in which they were not much considered before. In our TechStory we will talk about the impact of this change of course in the world of MES software.
How many MES software are there on the market that focus on the end user? Unfortunately not many at the moment. Some of the systems were developed several years ago now, in a context in which the user experience was not particularly taken into account. There was rather a strong focus on the product, often with a very technical edge, and not so much on its usability and accessibility.
This approach has led to MES systems that are complex to use, requiring long and complex training, where the user cannot move smoothly and naturally between screens, flows are not clear. The major negative consequence is that the company fails to derive maximum value from the solution it has implemented.
Only the most recent MES softwares were born right from the start, focusing on the concepts of UX and UI. These aspects, ignored in the B2B and manufacturing fields until five years ago, are now finally becoming central in these contexts as well.
A solution that focuses on the User Experience means that it has been developed with the end user in mind and the way in which he interacts with it, studying the analysis of the interaction flow down to the smallest detail.
It is an approach that starts from a study of the personas that will use the system, defining specific characteristics (for example demographic profile, digital skills, way of thinking, etc.) to try to understand and predict how they will interact with the final solution. Fundamental information to then build the man-machine interaction.
In the case of the TechMass solution, the app dedicated to operators and the web dashboards dedicated to production managers have both been developed by tracing their profile beforehand. For the app, for example, we thought that the operators could be of different nationalities, familiar with mobile applications but less familiar with complex software and a not too high level of digitisation. These characteristics have led us to design a simple interaction, with short text, in which the app itself guides the operator in the operations he has to perform.
When we talk about User Interface, however, we refer more specifically to the graphical interface that drives the interaction.
The best User Experience alone is not enough if graphically the end user is unable to proceed with the process. Through graphic elements, therefore, we try to make the solution as usable as possible and the interaction simple and natural.
For example, it must be immediately clear for the operator to know in the app which button to press and to be sure of what the output of his action will be.
Another example, again related to TechMass, are the Online Dashboards dedicated to the production manager. In fact, the graphic form chosen makes them easy and quick to interpret, saving time and making it possible to safely undertake timely improvement actions.
Designing a good UX and enhancing it with a valid UI therefore means thinking about the end user.
The greatest advantage is to offer a positive experience with the solution, capable of not generating negative feelings (such as frustration for not understanding the system).
A well-planned and designed MES software thus has the advantage of encouraging users to really use the system, creating added value for the company and maximizing the return on investment. Difficult-to-use tools run the risk of being unused or not exploited to their full potential, of spreading a negative culture in the company towards digitization which must enable and simplify processes and not make them more complex.
Would you like to see how our solution works? Book your demo and you will be able to see a concrete use case of TechMass.