Designing the user interface
Making the tool fit the task
We always keep in mind that any tool is ultimately aimed at serving people's purposes, no matter if a huge industrial machinery or a car dashboard is concerned.
When our customers ask us to support them in designing a user interface for a machine, the first step for us is to go to the field and understand what tasks operators are supposed to carry out with it. We also go through scientific papers, international standards, regulations, and guidelines, according to each industrial domain, but nothing could replace getting in touch with the real users.
Once we know what is supposed to happen, we move on to making it happen, by identifying the best way to match users needs to the user interface's structure. Just like anything, you build it from the foundations, by designing the general concept and the interaction structure.
General concepts have bugs, too: that's why we keep on reviewing them with customers until the whole structure has been defined.
We also take care of the user interface's look and feel, by involving designers and letting them put some style into the project, while respecting customers' guidelines.