Steinsvik Group, a Haugesund-based company, founded in 1966, was originally established as a machining company fabricating high-end components for the oil and gas industry. Over the years Steinsvik’s business diversified into developing products for related industries, and in a sense, producing whatever for whoever needed their expertise. Since 2004 the company has evolved and expanded into a major player within the marine industry and is viewed as one of the leading suppliers to the aqua-culture sector. Today they now operate through 10 companies in Norway, Scotland, Chile and Vietnam.
As they entered new international markets it was vital to re-establish the true essence of Steinsvik by evaluating how their brand and products and services should be represented in the market.
One of Steinvik’s most significant products is their professional software suite that manages aquaculture fish farms. Developed by their own software engineers, the solution has huge feature sets and abilities for those controlling the farms. For instance the software can be used to analyze the breeding environment for such variables as oxygen and temperature levels, meaning that those managing the farm can optimize feeding conditions and cycles.
So one of the challenges was to take the existing software and redesign it so that it aligned with Steinsvik’s new identity. This wasn’t just a matter of simply skinning what was there. More importantly it meant reinventing the interface by optimizing the UX experience from a system that was very complex, and difficult to learn, use and maintain, to a system that reflected their new values. An innovatively designed interface - resilient and robust to withstand the nature of the ocean. Safe, sure and seaproofed for life.
Given that the many feeding systems consist of long and complex linear routes from storage to holding pens via pipes, filters and vents, we looked for design inspiration from similar linear-processes. We found it within music recording hardware and software; where channels are used to carry, manipulate and shape an audio signal from its source to its destination, while giving the user an overview of the composition in its entirety.
We set up a small, lean team with Steinsvik’s Chief Software Engineer and a selection of their ‘pro-user’ customers. Listening and evaluating feedback from this customer type meant we could quickly identify interaction frustration points and reveal new features that would improve their workflow and lighten their workday.
We analyzed how users interacted with the system’s interface and how they used the output data from the many in and out water sensors that monitor breeding and feeding ecosystems. We identified key interaction points and extensively tested interaction design prototypes against these to ensure that the workflow was optimal, that it was a delight to use, and as such, that it reflected Steinsvik’s greater brand vision. For instance, we created interfaces that gave an easy to digest overview of what was happening in what is a complicated system. This meant that users could, in a snap shot, understand the state of the system and how they should react to it.
Another major consideration was that Steinsvik’s software is operated within a tough industrial environment where the devices, screens and touch points the user interacts with vary enormously. We designed a frustration free, pleasurable experience for joystick controllers, different screen types and constellations and portable tablets that acted as remote controls.
By designing a stress free software workflow environment, complex fish and farming data was easily to understand, interpret, interact with and react to – giving Steinsvik a more valuable and enjoyable product to offer to the market, while improving the lives and bottom line of their current customers.