Client background & business context

  • Client: big manufacturer of photomultiplier spectrometers, spark generators with auxiliary gap, lots of EEPROMs and CP/M Software.  
  • Software: universal platform application (desktop, tablet) for displaying, storing and analyzing the data recorded from a spectrometer, based on a user-defined analysis method.

Challenges

Engineering the hardware of the spectrometer and developing the application accompanying the device had to happen simultaneously. This highlighted the importance and the benefits of an agile product development 

  • A dynamic development: since the development of the prototype spectrometer and the software accompanying the device had to happen simultaneously, we encountered frequent changes from one sprint to another. This required additional time invested in planning and revealed the importance of maintaining an agile approach, while ensuring constant communication with the hardware development team. 
  • Prototype unavailable: the single existing prototype was mostly available off-site, which made testing rather hard to undergo and time-consuming.
  • Development workload: development faced a big workload for the suggested timeline on both sides (hardware and software development). This meant that together with the company’s stakeholders we had to map, focus and address the critical aspects in short release cycles. 
  • Responsive design: create a responsive interface that could offer the same experience for both desktop and tablet blue-collar users. 

Our approach

On our side, the software development team englobed 3 developers, a designer, a QA engineer, and a project manager. The company developed an analytical device (a spectrometer) comprised of a laser and multiple analog devices to digital optical converters for identifying chemical elements in material samples. Complementary to the actual hardware (the device) built by the company,Accesa developed a universal application for desktop and tablet, that displayed, stored and analyzed the recorded data based on a user defined analysis method. 

The company needed an application capable to provide ultra-precise information and high-quality data interpretation. The end-user of the tool and application had to be able to replicate their work with the same precision every single time. With a solid experience in working with scientific and analytical instruments, we knew that accuracy was a key differentiator for this product. 

As part of the approach, we started by creating the design of the application. We designed the UI and UX of the app according to the target users’ needs: people working in factories, at very high temperatures. Whether operating the app from a tablet or a standing PC, this software had to be precise, intuitive, and easy to use. 

An important milestone for this project was enabling the possibility of creating customized analysis methods, tailored to the materials the users work with. To this end, we build an editor within the app, capable to reused analysis methods whenever the users needed hem. This feature enabled a more efficient use of resources, that speeded up the general analysis process.  The analysis methods obtained from the interactions with the users can be marketed as advanced licensing methods that can be then sold to the company’s clients. 

Technologies

  • UWP
  • .NET

Results

Partnering with Accesa, the company obtained an intuitive, user-friendly, and accurate universal platform application, custom-made for the needs of their new spectrometer. The resulting application gets positive feedback not only for the precise way in which it works, but also for the UI/UX design that makes it stand out from the crowd. 

The application is a valuable differentiating factor for the company, offering them market leverage. The advanced licensing method, which is an app in itself, can be connected to one or more devices. This means that the company can rent out their spectrometer-application package in a pay-per-usage manner. 

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