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Sep 12, 2023

"Usability and a focus on the essentials are at the heart of our new HMI"

Dominik Roll is a project manager at OPTIMA. Since 2020, the company for packaging machines has been working with UID to make the user interfaces simpler and more modern for the users. In this interview, he tells us about the collaboration with UID, his personal highlights of the new HMI and how the project has changed the mindset of his colleagues.

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What made the cooperation with UID special for you?

Dominik Roll: What was special for me was the conception process based on the users' workflows. The whole thing was made even more concrete through customer surveys. I also found the feedback loops with the users to validate the concepts important. I also noticed that the team focused on the most important content in order to develop the user concept as intuitively as possible. In the end, the user workflow concept was worked out down to the last detail. The result was an all-round successful user experience!

What is the highlight of the new user interface for you?

Dominik Roll: Although the filling, packaging and production systems are very complex, they can now be operated very intuitively. This is mainly due to the user-centred operating concept. In addition, the employees now always have an overview of the entire production thanks to topic-oriented dashboards. In general, everything is now much more user-oriented, making the machines easier to operate. Beyond the HMI, the new modern design style is used throughout all of OPTIMA's digital products.

Which new aspect makes your work easier the most?

Dominik Roll: The favourites function allows you to get to all the content you need quickly and you no longer have to search for it for a long time. In addition, the machine now supports you when troubleshooting. This is especially helpful for our colleagues who are new to the job or who are not so familiar with the machine. They receive additional support in setting up machines through suggestions for production optimisation.

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What advantages do you observe, especially for new colleagues?

Dominik Roll: The new operating concept is much more intuitive than the old one. As one employee put it: "I understand how to operate the machine better after one hour with the new HMI than after three weeks with the existing HMI. You can reach the required content much faster and the tidy overall picture makes orientation easier. The dashboards also make it easier to get started.

Has the general usability mindset in the project team changed? If so, how?

Dominik Roll: In the past, the interface was by technicians for technicians. Today the focus is on the users. Nowadays, the project team puts on its own UX/UI glasses. Sentences such as "The design would be simpler for the users this way." A lot has definitely changed in their minds.

What other points are worth mentioning for you around the project?

Dominik Roll: I would like to emphasise that UID has done pioneering work for us in the area of UX/UI. Since then, many colleagues at OPTIMA have been very concerned about designing user interfaces that are intuitive and user-centred. Basically, we have been able to further develop our user focus in this area.

Thank you very much for the interview, Mr Roll!