How Perfectionists Design

Posted on: 25.06.2015

When we founded Glaass we challenged ourselves to design construction software the way it should have been – functional, accountable, fast and exceptionally easy to use. We want users to love the Glaass experience whereby our products integrally lead project teams to success. When we began designing Glaass some 18 months ago, we stepped back and asked ourselves why? What has driven us to create software systems? We came up with two simple answers:

  1. Products, services and/or systems don’t exist to address the problems and inefficiencies encountered within the construction industry, and;
  2. The products, services and/or systems that do exist within the industry are ineffective, unaccountable, immobile, disconnected and we are completely and utterly dissatisfied with them!

Finding the problem is the easy part, envisaging and designing a solution is undoubtedly tougher. Building a cross platform, multi-tier, industry specific software suite that is interconnected and easy to use isn’t as simple as you might think. As Tony Fadell (Nest Labs CEO) said, “the key to design is noticing” which is fortunately second nature to most self-confessed perfectionists like me!

Therefore, we have two design criteria’s:

  1. To create exceptional products that haven’t previously existed, and;
  2. To create products that exponentially improve upon what currently exists

Our design process always begins with analysing the current systems used within the industry. Regardless of how impractical and inefficient these systems may be, it’s imperative to understand what characteristics users are drawn to. Next, we decipher every flaw and inability within the application; often a cumbersome task. We strip each feature back to remove anything that is unnecessary, identify areas that can be made leaner and reduce time between functions.

Building products that haven’t existed is substantially more difficult. An in depth user experience is essential to ensure that what is being designed is practical and more so functional to the end user. There are features in Glaass that have undergone months of deliberation because we simply aren’t satisfied with anything less than perfection. We aren’t motivated by products that are mediocre, or even good. We work to make every feature, no matter how insignificant, great. This is why we only release products that truly enrich and empower teams to succeed.

We aren’t motivated by products that are mediocre, or even good. We work to make every feature, no matter how insignificant, great.

We build our prototypes through a series staggered releases, which typically includes anywhere from eight to twelve new features. Everything we’ve learnt, studied and devised is made into a working prototype. The next step is the most confronting part of design, critiquing our own work. We don’t always get it right the first time, but we continue iterating our design until we do.

Not satisfied with our own evaluation, we employ a diverse range of people from within and outside the industry to experiment with our product. We ask them to perform a function, without explaining how. We judge the effectiveness of our product based on the time taken to perform the function and the number of incorrect actions made to get there. Our goal is to create software that requires no training to use, and analysing how these people use our product without guidance provides the most honest feedback.

We love design at Glaass, it’s an integral component to everything we do, and the cornerstone to delivering a unique user experience. We are currently working hard on our sixth release, adding and optimising our feature set to bring you, the future of construction.