The Pretotype Technique

September 9, 2016
UX

Using the Pretotype Technique for a better user experience in a complex software for engineers. Partial discharge analysis in power transformer testing.

https://www.omicronenergy.com/en/products/power-transformer/diagnosis/partial-discharge-analysis/mpd-600/

Solving interaction problems in a workshop often takes more time than some stakeholder actually have. Together with the developers and users we look out for problems in the interaction. Splitting complex interactions into several microinteractions helps to improve the overall user experience step by step.

Pointing out the problems

We then generate click-prototypes from the all new constructed microinteractions. These prototypes mostly are quick and dirty and should only work for testing different interaction motivations between the user and the software.

Creating a pretotypeThe image shows the calibration mode of one of the selected MPD 600 devices.

These prototype feedback rounds are incredible useful for us and often spark new questions to think about. Usually there are more than three iterations needed to get to a satisfying result.

all new UI

The intelligent design of the interface and the interactions combined, builds the overall user experience

To make sure everyone is on the same page it is important to know the requirements. They can coming from developers, product owners, the users and many other stakeholders. This needs to be communicated before any further steps are being made.

In addition to that, use cases can help identify hidden needs and problems of certain users. Ignoring the different motivation in the process of the development can lead to a product which will not be liked to work with. (You know.. like the Office Suite in the 90’s)


Test it like a maniac

Great usefulness doesn’t need to look ugly. Taking this little streaming feature from the all new MPD Software I worked on in the last couple of month. As a designer who, for this project, was embedded into the Scrum process I also had stories, tickets and tasks. The daily standup was a good way to give and receive feedback every day.

all new UI This image shows a redesign after many users complained about the design and the complexity of this actual easy task.

The user can choose what data from what channel and device should be recorded. We decided to make a file browser like pop up window for the reduction of distractions.

Feedback Feedback Feedback

Designing without feedback is like walking blindfolded through downtown. You don’t know what and when it hits you. Although this metaphor is bad and I should feel bad, it shows my point. It’s incredibly important to gather as much feedback as possible from every stakeholder involved in this project. We can get feedback, questions to think about and a general communication may spark new ideas on both sides.