Spotto Blog

Designing for humans and why simple matters

J Bank, Chief of Design at Spotto shares his thoughts on why simplicity is a guiding principle for the Spotto team.

March 2, 2021
Tracking a new asset in Spotto on a tablet

The situation

Organisations like hospitals are struggling to find their assets when they need them. This problem results in wasted time locating things when they're needed, overspending on equipment that can't be found and compromised patient care. Spotto aims to reduce asset search time with technology that automatically records equipment location so anyone can find what they need right from their phone or PC.

As a business we decided to invest in an entirely web-based platform which meant no software to install on the customer side. There’s a couple reasons for this. First, in a hospital scenario where there tends to be a mixed ownership of devices, getting approval for installed applications is a significant hurdle to usage — we just want our users to find things without a hassle. Some people might carry their own device but not feel comfortable downloading a work app. Secondly, we’re a small team and we pride ourselves on being nimble when it comes to product development. Maintaining native apps can be costly from a time point of view, so where it makes sense we go with the web-first approach.

The vision

While Spotto has a lot going on under the hood, my intention is to design an app that looks and feels understated — a breath of fresh air for everyone — particular healthcare workers who expect the worst from their day-to-day software. Ultimately we've created something that our users enjoy.

Last week a Nurse Unit Manager was being shown how Spotto could help her find vital equipment anywhere around the large hospital she works, whenever she needs it. You could read the hesitation on her face, and we get it, ‘another piece of complexity for me to try to understand.’ But within a couple of minutes it became clear that her expectations did not match reality. Spotto was far simpler than she'd assumed. She could make any of her important assets trackable and her staff could search for them without having to go through training. In a time-poor environment — that’s huge.

Quote: “The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.” — Ryan Holiday

The pandemic challenged us as a team in ways we didn't expect. From early 2020 when the pandemic was gearing up we weren't able to be hands-on with hospital installations of Spotto. This meant refocusing our efforts on eliminating any points of technical confusion across the product experience so that hospital staff could setup Spotto entirely independently. Was our language clear? How much could we remove from Spotto without hindering functionality? Are we using techy terms when we don’t need to?

Large tap areas accommodate for users across a broad age bracket, and tech jargon is avoided where possible.
Search results are designed with just the right amount of information and nothing superfluous.
The movement history of an asset is just a tap away from search results.

This thoughtfulness towards the user experience is just a natural part of our product design and engineering. An unintended but beautiful consequence of COVID-19. We’re stoked with how far Spotto has come. It seems like each week we hear a new story of how Spotto has improved the work lives of clinical teams — and patient outcomes as a result of things simply being found.


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