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The pivotal role of user interface and user experience in industrial manufacturing

Lead Designer James Byun shares insights into how UI/UX design is reshaping the industrial manufacturing landscape, turning complex systems into user-friendly tools.
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Since 2014, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with Honeywell, particularly focusing on the visual design of their SmartLine and Versatilis™ product lines. It’s been an educational journey. The industrial manufacturing landscape is evolving, and while its foundational principles remain unchanged, the tools and techniques are rapidly advancing. This transformation isn’t just about new technologies; it’s about integrating user-centered design into every facet. At OXD, we see this firsthand. We believe that a well-crafted user interface and experience (UI/UX) aren’t just design buzzwords. They’re pivotal in shaping the future of industrial manufacturing.

Why UI/UX matters in industrial manufacturing

Industrial manufacturing, traditionally viewed as a sector focused on machinery and processes, now recognizes the profound impact of user experience. Bad user interfaces are hard to learn and force the user to suffer through confusing, counter-intuitive, and unnecessary steps to complete their tasks. But while the machinery and systems may be complex, the interface doesn’t have to be. The benefits of UI/UX include:

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Efficiency

Streamlined processes mean tasks are completed faster, with fewer resources used.

Safety

Safety

A clear, user-friendly interface reduces the chances of operational errors, ensuring the safety of the workforce.

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Adaptability

As technology evolves, a flexible UI/UX ensures that systems remain relevant and easy to use.

Training

Training

A good design reduces the learning curve, ensuring that new staff can get up to speed quickly.

Learning from the design transformation at Honeywell Process Solutions

To understand the real-world impact of UI/UX in industrial manufacturing, let’s take a closer look  into our collaboration with Honeywell Process Solutions.

Challenges

  • Honeywell customers struggled with a confusing ordering process. The process of configuring and placing an order was tedious and took an average of 140 minutes.
  • Honeywell sales reps had to fly out for site visits on certain orders, which reduced both the profitability and sustainability of the product. 
  • Their tools, designed for complex tasks, weren’t responsive. This created a disconnect in a mobile-first world.

Our approach

  • We envisioned an industrial tool with the simplicity of a consumer app.
  • Prioritizing user experience was paramount. By understanding the end-users, we tailored the design to fit their needs.
  • We adopted an agile approach, ensuring rapid adaptability to feedback and changing requirements.
  • The result was the SmartLine Application and Validation Tool, designed seamlessly for both desktop and mobile environments.
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Outcomes

  • Users experienced a responsive and seamless interface across multiple screens and devices.
  • The tool was intuitive, reducing the cognitive load on operators.
  • Remote collaboration became a reality, bridging gaps and enhancing decision-making by connecting customers and agents in synchronous, real-time sessions over the internet.
  • Most impressively, operations became 3.6 times faster, with a notable reduction in errors.
There is now a screenshot image of the Honeywell Versatilis Dashboard to support OXD's work in modernizing their industrial manufacturing tools

The project didn’t stop there. The lessons from SmartLine were then applied to accelerate Honeywell Versatilis™, streamlining site management with advanced device insights.

The future with OXD

As industrial manufacturing continues to integrate and modernize digital tools, the role of UI/UX will only grow in significance. It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s about creating interfaces that empower users, streamline operations, and drive innovation.

Use the form below to get deeper insights into the user-centred work we've done with Honeywell to help them stand out in a crowded market.

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