Redefining the experience of Drive Composer Pro and the ABB development process.

This project was done as part of the Experience Driven Design course at Aalto University. In the project we collaborated with ABB who acted as our client for our student group. They provided us with a design brief for the collaborative project. Heavy emphasis was put on the experience (experience driven) rather than technology. In addressing the project brief, our goal was to develop two design concepts, one applicable and one radical design, by defining experience goals and evaluating the resulting experiences with users.

Brief

ABB provides a variety of software and user interfaces to facilitate the use of their hardware products. In order to maintain, operate, monitor and troubleshoot the drives, field engineers working at ABB use the software Drive Composer Pro (DCP). When something goes wrong and causes trouble with a drive, field engineers equipped with a PC solve these issue by monitoring the drives behaviour through DCP. It has been noticed that the user expectations for usability and readability for this monitoring are not aligned with the current capabilities of DCP.

ABB therefore outlined the following goals for us to address as we approached the project. “What are the real needs from the user point of view?” “How can the monitoring be improved without losing Drive Composer Pro’s advanced configuration options?”

Case ABB - ABB Drive Suite
Case ABB - Monitoring

Method

We initiated this project by first conducting a broad research enquiry about field engineers, including their motivations and desires, as well as the drive composer tool itself. We then completed benchmarking with other competitor’s programs. We conducted this research primarily through secondary research and user interviews. We explored the relationship between The Field and The Factory within the ABB Drives organisation. The polarisation between these departments influenced our direction.

In analysing the research we identified the diversity of the users and user needs of Drive Composer Pro and created personas and user journeys to understand these needs. After creating key insights in understanding the users, we established our experience goals. We used these experience goals to develop our two concepts.

After learning about the field engineers experiential relationships to their work and the tools that they utilise, we proposed three main experience goals, three minor supporting experience goals and two solutions. The experience goals included challenge, competence and fellowship, which lead us towards the solutions by applying these experiences to both an easily applicable solution and a radical concept.

Case ABB - Sketching Session
Case ABB - Evaluation Cards

We iteratively developed two concepts in which we approached the experience goals from different perspectives. In developing the concepts we moved from sketching to paper prototyping to digital and back again. After each iteration we evaluated the concepts with different users.

Case ABB - Sketching Session
Case ABB - Evaluation Cards

Solution

Based on the users’ feedback and experience evaluations, we revised and refined our designs. The experience goals in mind during the entire development and design phases of the process. At the end of the project we went back to the experience goals we defined and evaluated the concepts based on these goals.

Concept one called Drive Suite: Upgrading the Navigation and Linking the Community, is an experiential redesign of the interface, navigation and Q&A features for the Drive Composer Pro software used by field engineers. This concept was created to facilitate experiences focusing first on competence, then challenge and finally fellowship.

Case ABB - ABB Drive Suite

Visuals by Mathijs Provoost. UI by Mathijs Provoost & Andreas Sode.

Concept two called ABB Development Community: Connecting the Field and the Factory, is a redesign of ABB’s development process. We created this concept experientially by first focusing on fellowship, then challenge and finally competence. For this concept we suggested that a redesign of the user engagement process could radically change the representation of user needs, wants and desires through developing a solution that facilitates a dialogue in the way user needs and requirements are implemented into the solutions that ABB offers.

Case ABB - ABB Development Community

Visuals by D. Brad Mullen.

Team members

D. Brad Mullen

Mathijs Provoost

Andreas Sode

Involved organisations