Josh Collie Info Writing
Building the brand and product of the world’s leading operating system for life sciences laboratories.

Client

Clustermarket

Role

Brand & product

Industry

Science

Year

2021

Problem

Clustermarket provides simple management of scientific laboratories. Over 5 years they had created an extremely powerful solution that enables booking and management of scientific equipment. However, most of the features were added in this time were done so in a way that hinders discoverability and makes the platform seem very complicated.

The team also outlined some future functionality which at present had no obvious home within the application and so it was important for any designs to consider easy accomodation of future functionality.

Branding

Clustermarket were in the awkward position of having 2 active brands. Clustermarket, the parent company, and Bookkit, the lab management software. We felt it imperitive to simplify the proposition by moving forward with a singular brand, rather than the brand umbrella approach.

Both brands lacked a distinct brand or voice across product and website while also lacking clarity of messaging around who the product was for and how it could assist them. For this reason we also provided a refresh brand identity and website to accompany product changes.

We had fun exploring scientific themes within the logotype to help set our direction.

Research

Products with large followings will have devout users that have become used to working in specific ways. It was important to understand how these users worked, what they loved about the product and what they felt could be improved. I held virtual research sessions with a diverse set of 15 users and learned 4 takeaways that we would focus on.

  1. Research work continues outside of the laboratory
  2. Flows are repetitive
  3. Communication is broken
  4. The default page is “useless” lab administrators

Mobile access

The first point was highlighted by almost every user commenting upon the frustrations they had with the rudimentary web app and lack of native mobile application. Many researchers would book equipment for experiments on the train to work or while moving between laboratories.

Rather than dedicating a large amount of time to building native mobile applications I suggested improvements to the web application that made the experience more pleasant and consistent regardless of which device users preferred. When presenting these directions back to users their excitement was palpable.

Sourcery team whiteboarding in a conference room
Sourcery team whiteboarding in a conference room
Sourcery team whiteboarding in a conference room

Multi-booking

Many scientists also book multiple pieces of equipment at a time but were forced to book each in a repetitive sequential flow that took a lot of time. We rearchitected the way users book so they could book multiple pieces of equipment at any one time.

Screenshot of the Clustermarket multi equipment booking modal

Simple communication

Much of user communication took place using email which led to researchers feeling overwhelmed and disconnected from the platform. This is why we designed a unified communication system within the platform that would give users the opportunity to stay in one place to do their work.

Screenshot of the Clustermarket inbox

Personalised activity view

Finally, the default page lab managers see after logging in was highly catered to researchers and users who create many bookings. The old version of the page displayed information about upcoming bookings. However, lab managers rarely ever made a booking and were more concerned about who was making a booking and what activity was happening throughout their labs.

For this reason, we created a universal ‘Activity’ view which could dynamically alter the information displayed dependent on the context of the active user.

Screenshot of the Clustermarket activity page

With all of this, Clustermarket were ready to take on the future of scientific research with an product that has a seemless experience across mobile and desktop, providing researchers with a way to continue their work wherever they are. The road to the future is paved and ready for whatever comes next.

Now we feel we can be bolder and think bigger. We have aligned the team around a clear shared vision and set of goals - and we know we’re ready for what’s coming next. Tobias Wingbermuhle, Co-founder