Walking A Mile In Your Safety Boots

January 5, 2024

In the world of construction technology, where innovation meets practicality, Converge has embarked on a groundbreaking mission to redefine user experience. Picture a bustling site with engineers in steel-toed boots, gloves and safety glasses. They're efficiently navigating their tasks, but they're grappling with the limitations of traditional app interactions while wearing protective gear in a loud outdoor environment. 

You probably know the saying, "the wearer knows where the shoes pinches." It doesn't matter whether you're designing buildings for people, or building apps for the people building them, we all know it, feedback matters. 

We at Converge recognised these pain points for our users and transformed them into an opportunity to excel. By crafting an ingenious solution that melds intuitive gestures, clear instructions, and engaging illustrations, we have revolutionised app usability, ensuring every user can seamlessly operate the app while keeping their safety at the forefront. Let us embark on a journey through the intricate yet compelling innovations that have elevated Converge's construction technology app to new heights.

Illustrations to the Rescue: Hand-Holding You through Critical Moments

Let's dive into a specific challenge we faced. At Converge, we have physical sensors that need to be physically installed in concrete. To get temperature and strength data from these sensors, you have to register a device and collect data from that device using your mobile phone.

Here's the thing: a small mistake on your part can make the device useless, leaving you frustrated and unable to get important concrete information. You might have wondered why you can't collect data, only to realise later that you installed the device upside down or you forgot to remove the activation card before pouring concrete. How frustrating for you! Compare this with the first thing you’d probably see when walking on a construction site: clear and illustrated guidance on what you should and shouldn’t do is probably plastered all around. Why should our app be any different?

Illustrations in the ConcreteDNA App

So, here's what we did to solve this issue: we added helpful illustrations and clear instructions to guide you through these crucial moments, right before you needed to. We even studied the type of grammar and colour schemes, based on our CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) training. We want the sensor in your hand to match the picture you see on your phone screen. These new illustrations and clear text serve as reminders for the little things that keep you on track. It's a simple but effective way to improve your experience. 

Navigating the Construction Maze: Streamlining Workflows with App Statuses

As well as these helpful illustrations, we now have statuses throughout the entire app. Let’s say you’ve just registered a sensor. Your next objective is to install it in concrete. And that is exactly what the app says. And that is the same for each and every part of the app. This means that if you had a brand new colleague who wishes to use the app, you could confidently say ‘just follow the instructions’ and rely on the app to tell them what to do next.’ Let’s compare this to a scenario. It’s like telling a new colleague who needs to get to the site office. You can now say “just follow the access routes” instead of giving them a long list of directions there. 

Instructions in the ConcreteDNA App

Gloves Off, App On: Overcoming the Glove Barrier on Construction Sites

Now, let's address another challenge – using our construction technology app on a construction site while wearing safety gloves. Imagine this scenario: you work at a construction tech company, maybe in our Blackfriars office or from home. Can you think of a more different environment than a construction site? To truly understand you, our users, we need to experience a day in your steel toe boots and feel where it ‘pinches’.

During our site visits, we see site engineers like you showing us how you use the app on-site. We watch as you take off your safety gloves effortlessly to navigate the app. It's so natural that if you blinked, you'd miss it. We also notice when you pass the app to your section engineer, he has cut off the fingertips of his gloves. If we weren't paying attention, we might not even notice it.

Here's the problem we discovered: our construction technology app doesn't work well with safety gear on a construction site. Those swipes and dropdown menus just don't cooperate with gloves on. Take a look around at the buttons and levers you have on site. They’re probably much bigger than your average mobile phone button and they’re as easy as possible to operate. 

So, for our new app, we're getting rid of swiping, or scrolling gestures and replacing them with simpler actions. And those tiny buttons? Let's make them bigger. Big enough that you could even press them with your nose if needed. And you know what? Users today are successfully using our app with their safety gear on. Let's applaud that progress!

Buttons in the ConcreteDNA App


Thinking Ahead, Creating Wonder: Tackling Complex Problems as a Team

Thanks to our user obsession and thanks to your help, we've come up with an app that stands head and shoulders above our competition. To construct a building you need complex teams with different roles: project managers, site engineers, section engineers and architects. And to build a new app, you need designers, software engineers, firmware engineers, mechanical engineers and product managers. And because we're thinking ahead and we're thinking creatively about our users’ interesting challenges as a team, we’ve created a fantastic product that solves these complex and new problems. You’ve really kept us on our toes (I promise that’s the last boot reference that I’ll *shoe horn* in).

So please, keep your feedback coming because we’re on a mission to make your lives easier and your construction safe, efficient and sustainable! 

Book a demo now!

Special thanks to the endless dedication and competence of the mobile team; Luke Aveil, Antoine Roy, Matt Lennon, Golan Shay, Greg Bautunyok, Cristian Moisei, Kemi Shobowale, Stanislas Le Guezec and Hana Blofeld. Your hard work and expertise have been instrumental in bringing this app to life.

By Sarah Kim

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