Case Study: Designing a SaaS console for IoT device management

INDUSTRY: Thermodata’s temperature monitoring solutions for life sciences and food industries

Karen Donoghue
Nov 7, 2018 · 5 min read

CLIENT

Thermodata

PRACTICE AREAS

Product Planning, UI/UX Design, UX Workshop facilitation, Personas, Flows, Wireframes

PROJECT

Design the Loggistix SaaS Console User Experience

SUMMARY

· Led highly collaborative approach with Thermodata Executive team to validate product requirements and end user experience of SaaS product before building any software, substantially reducing delivery risk.

· Designed a new easy-to-use SaaS product platform that enables more efficient sales and price elasticity of Thermodata’s calibration service as a key component of an integrated Cloud services offering.

· The new design streamlines selling of the product and has improved adoption of the trial experience for the Loggistix platform, propelling sales of calibration service for Thermodata.

· The self-service SaaS experience enables a more transparent view into data aggregated from sensors across many geographic locations and more efficient analysis on the data.

THE PROCESS

Thermodata Corporation provides highly accurate temperature monitoring solutions to the life sciences and food industries, managing the temperature of their perishable products to ensure quality and viability. Thermodata’s cloud based system provides an easy to use and readily accessible means to analyze and share the substantial amount of data collected by networked sensors and loggers.

Working closely with the Thermodata founders, I participated in product planning, feature definition and workflow design for a MVP definition of Loggistix, Thermodata’s cloud based service that collects readings from monitoring devices worldwide. The devices are small (around 16mm in diameter) and precisely calibrated for monitoring temperature. Data from devices is stored in a secure repository and accessible by authorized users via the Web, for analysis, reporting and sharing.

The goals for the product included the design of a highly usable “self-service” user experience that would not require special training or a lengthy onboarding process. I began working with the Thermodata executive and development team on persona design and proceeded to feature definition and prioritization for the Loggistix Console using Agile development methods.

Under a tight deadline to validate the requirements for the MVP version of the Loggistix user experience, I organized and led a half day brainstorming workshop with product and development teams to rapidly define and prioritize flows and requirements.

As a collaborative team, we defined seven user personas of the overall platform system, and proceeded to define the workflows that exist between the core personas. Workflows included defining the lifecycles and tasks for Missions, which are time-based transportation events that require tracking across geographic regions worldwide with specific shipping and delivery dates.

Examples of workflows among personas captured during the Thermodata team MVP Brainstorming workshop.

We defined workflows for each of the personas, including an Admin whose responsibilities include adding new sites and users as part of provisioning a new Mission. We also specified alert notification schemes so that users of the system could be notified in real-time about events, for example in the case of a failure to maintain SLA refrigeration. This notification allows the recipient to understand if there has been a compromise in delivery quality for the Mission’s shipment and to act accordingly.

Based on the captured requirements and user stories from the MVP brainstorming workshop, I produced a set of draft flows and wireframes reflecting the requirements.

Example overall architecture diagram and early interaction flow for Thermodata Dashboard and Mission data

Collaborating with the team — in a matter of weeks — we translated and refined the MVP requirements into flows and wireframes for the development team to analyze and use for building the software.

Example wireframe for Loggistix mission details screen, showing alerts details for a Mission.

The wireframes reflected requirements for a real-time console dashboard with Mission data and sensor data details available both in summary views and as drilldown screens. The Dashboard also enabled real-time alerting for error conditions for Missions. The wireframes helped to reflect the MVP requirements in a format in which the entire team could readily analyze and provide feedback.

Example screenshots of the implemented Loggistix platform. At left is the Loggistix main dashboard, at right is a screen showing Mission details and associated sensor data.

BUSINESS RESULTS

The highly collaborative approach we took for this project enabled the Executive team to validate product requirements and the experience for customers before building in software, thereby reducing delivery risk. This project was performed under a tight budget, and I delivered a cost-effective solution to the Thermodata Executive team. The mockups I delivered enabled the representation of features and a proposed data model in a shareable format that made it easy for engineering to understand, give feedback and plan for implementation.

In the next year, Thermodata released a beta version of Loggistix, the Thermodata cloud software as a service (SaaS) platform guided by the console designs from the planning sessions.

The new dashboard design helped to streamline selling of the product and improved adoption of the trial experience for the Loggistix platform, propelling the sales of calibration service for Thermodata. For users of the SaaS platform, the self-service experience enables a more transparent view into data aggregated from sensors across many geographic locations and more efficient analysis on the data. The new easy-to-use SaaS product platform has enabled more efficient sales and price elasticity of Thermodata’s calibration service as a key component of an integrated Cloud services offering.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information on how I can help with designing and improving your digital products please visit my portfolio site at https://www.humanlogic.com or contact me at karen@humanlogic.com.

For more information on Thermodata’s solutions please visit http://www.thermodata.us.

AUTHOR

Karen Donoghue is an experienced Product Designer who works with product teams to accelerate their digital product development and architect scalable solutions. She works closely with PM and Engineering teams to validate requirements, define user stories, flows and wireframes and build prototypes. Her clients include VMware, T-Mobile, The Associated Press, the U.S. government, SecurityScorecard (where she is also an Advisor), Resilient Systems (acquired in 2016 by IBM Security), and many technology startups. Her client work focuses on enterprise product and platform design for enterprise security, mobile, iOT, healthcare and financial services.

Karen earned a MS from the MIT Media Laboratory in Cambridge, MA and authored the first book linking business strategy to online user experience, published by McGraw-Hill in New York. Karen travels worldwide to work with her clients on user experience challenges and new product designs. To learn more about design planning and enhancing the outcomes of products, please contact Karen at karen [at] humanlogic [dot] com.

For more information please visit http://www.humanlogic.com

Karen Donoghue

Written by

Interaction Architect and Advisor, HumanLogic

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