Trelleborg is a world leader in engineered polymer solutions. Their products seal, damp and protect critical applications in demanding environments. They do everything from help seal airplanes against every imaginable weather condition to ensuring that oil wells do not leak.
Their innovative engineered solutions enhance their customers’ performance by protecting their equipment in a sustainable way. If you have a product that absolutely cannot fail or break down in extreme conditions, Trelleborg is the company you call.
Trelleborg is a high-tech company that needed an application that allowed them to maintain the professionalism and sophistication it imbues in each of their engineered polymer solutions. To achieve this incredibly high standard, Trelleborg turned to CobbleWeb for support.
Trelleborg needed a Quality Analysis Tool to ensure that its products lived up to the firm’s well-earned reputation. For a company like Trelleborg, quality is an indispensable element of what it does. When its products fail, the best case scenario is an expensive fix. The worst case scenario is that people could die.
The challenge of this new tool was that it needed to streamline the reporting process so that users could easily input new information but do it in a way that would not sacrifice important information from being reported. Further, Trelleborg wanted to incorporate new uses for their quality analysis processes and to incorporate industry-wide best practices. In short, the Quality Analysis Tool is not just meant to be an internal repository for product analysis, but is intended to improve the entire process and their products better.
Trelleborg had two very specific traits it wanted included in this new tool.
Quality analysis auditors at Trelleborg need to review more than 50 indicators related to quality. These indicators can be displayed either as numerical indicators or as a graph. The different filter options could allow for more than 20 variations on how that information could be displayed. The challenge is that the tool needed to find the right method to display and process that volume of data. The interface needed to be user-friendly and the relevant information needed to be displayed and easy to find.
Users needed to comment on the data they were seeing. It was not enough for the users to see the information regarding Trelleborg product quality; they needed to comment on it and ensure that the right people were notified if changes had to be made. The tool also needed to allow users to update goals and issue reports on the performance of the individuals making the products to ensure the entire quality assurance process was streamlined and could be done through one application.
Building an application like the one described above was not going to be something we could do with a first pass; we were going to have to iterate our way through several different methods before we found the right one. So we sketched, we experimented, and we prototyped — but we did it quickly. By rapidly iterating, we were able to quickly test and identify which user interaction worked best while achieving all of Trelleborg’s goals. This process was essential, as it allowed us to test flows and interactions before jumping into visual design.
Through rapid iteration we were able to identify the key features that would make this tool really do quality work. We began with the ability to filter and inspect data, because without getting that optimised, the reporting functionality would not be valuable. We began by creating an indicator board that was basic but was incredibly smart in ensuring that users focused on the most important elements of a product's quality.
Next, we allowed the different filters to be segmented intuitively with a user interface bar that identified which filters were selected. We also allowed the user to choose whether they wanted the data to be displayed as a table or graph. The resulting user interaction drastically improved and simplified a user's ability to inspect the data. With the indicators board and filters selected bar, users could easily identify what data was being provided.
Every time a note was created, it was notated with the following information:
These features allow people reviewing the reports to understand the context in which they were written and understand what the notes are about. The features also greatly simplified the reporting process.
But it is not enough to build an application that gets the job done; it needs to be visually appealing. As a result, we created a compelling aesthetic that fostered the use of the tool and created a strong user experience.
The main source of insight we relied on to build the quality assessment tool came from the numerous user interviews we organised. These interviews focused on how users searched for information within the app. We also tested the other numerous scenarios that Trelleborg specified they wanted their users to experience when working within the application.
We watched how people used the app to determine basic usability functions. We watched how users interacted with features and where their eyes went when scanning the app. By the end of this process, we understood how users were visualising and interacting with the data.
The first thing we did was to reorganise the indicator board to align the display with how users scanned information on the app. Our discoveries also pushed us to improve the organisation of filters. This facilitated better search results. We also allowed user profiles to customise their indicators and filters.
Users have a preferred method of viewing data, which varies from person to person. By allowing for customisation, the display automatically adjusts to the user’s preferences, which enhance the overall experience.
Trelleborg is a unique company with a strong culture. While it faced many of the same challenges that other successful companies encounter, Trelleborg saw an opportunity to improve instead of an obstacle to overcome.
Trelleborg did not merely find a way to maintain the functionality of their current quality control system while enhancing their processes with innovative technology. They improved their overall quality, which gives them a unique competitive advantage over their competition. That is what CobbleWeb does; it turns your technical challenges into competitive advantages.
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