In 5 years, Clustermarket had created an extremely powerful solution that enabled booking and management of scientific laboratories. However, many of the features were implemented in a way that hindered discoverability and made the platform appear complicated. The team required research into how they can improve their product and a cohesive visual language to expand their business.
The first hurdle to product understanding was that Clustermarket were in the substandard 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 unified 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.
A design sprint brought the team together to develop a shared understanding of the mission and audience that would fuel my discovery and creation of refined brand identity to accompany the product changes.
We had fun exploring scientific themes within the logotype to help set our direction.
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.
- Research work continues outside of the laboratory
- Flows are repetitive
- Communication is broken
- The default page is “useless” for lab administrators
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.
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.
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.
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.
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