In part two of Road to the New Moisture, we interview Pete Rothe, VP User Experience, to learn about the process of designing Encircle's New Moisture Tool.
To design such a complex tool, where did you start?
Pete: "We started by understanding the jobs our customers needed solved. We had to consider the various needs of our users. My team and I are here to make our product's user experience a durable business advantage. This means, we need to be able to relate our design decisions to what matters to our business – we need to understand the nuances between what the customers need and what the users need.
In the early days of the project we saw strong signals that informed our primary user experience hypothesis: to get the adoption we needed, the field tools had to be easy to use in difficult environments but also had to have the smarts to empower everyone on moisture team to make decisions when surprises come on a water job.
In addition to satisfying the adoption metric, our design needed to be informed by the Product team’s design principles. Our primary goal is simply to “humanize” the core Encircle experiences. We aspire to understand the things that matter to those in the field as they are trying to do their job."
What challenges did you face as you were designing moisture? What did you learn?
Pete: "One of the biggest challenges was also our biggest opportunity. To reach the broadest audience, users needed to be able to complete the entire water job without using a moisture map. We needed to design a product that could convey workflows and statuses without relying on the most obvious and well-used visual tool in the industry: the moisture map.
We learned through trial and error. We invented new workflow patterns and new user experience widgets to provide just the right amount of context for each step for the user. And when we added the moisture map back into the mix, we learned that the designs were very flexible. These new experiences will be the foundation of our future projects."
What was your inspiration? What did you want the finished product to do?
Pete: "Our users inspired us. Every design decision we made was in service to the jobs they needed us to help them with. Our initial feedback from our trials told us that customers and users alike appreciate this attention to detail.
Our new moisture tool will be successful if people use it in the field to document and manage water jobs. Without the field workers, there is no data. It is very important to get enough quality data from the field to reduce claim cycle times."
Did you have any guiding principles for the design? Ie. it must be easy to use, helpful…
Pete: "In addition to our primary principle of humanizing Encircle product experiences, we have several other guiding principles. Some of these are our secret sauce – we’re going to keep those close to our chests. Others, like “stop starting and start finishing” are commonly cited but hard to follow. You need a resilient cross functional team to design and build a tool like our Moisture tool. There are no shortcuts to building great products."
How did expert knowledge inform the design?
Pete: "Expert knowledge was key to getting the science of drying right and to inform us on how the top 10% of the industry manages water jobs. It was important to understand how much attention to detail we needed on the equipment-based features so that business owners could get paid for what was used on a job.
However, expert knowledge alone doesn’t help make a tool for the rest of us. We learned that field workers often don’t have any training in the science or the S500 specifications. So as a product team, we needed to learn how and when to apply the learnings from the purists to build a tool the inexperienced field worker could still use to "get 'er done”.
Want to know more about our New Moisture tool? Click the button below to visit our Moisture page to learn about the exciting features.