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How to Design Democratizes Access to Industrial Data

Element’s mission is to make industrial data incredibly easy to use, enabling insights never thought possible. In other words, to help professionals at industrial companies spend more time analyzing data instead of preparing that data for analysis.

Element’s software is a huge step forward in this regard. It helps companies prepare and manage data efficiently, reliably and in a scalable manner. There’s no need for armies of employees to populate and update spreadsheets, write custom code, or to hire expensive consultants.

Taking a complex process and simplifying the user interaction extends down to the smallest details of Element’s software. We want you to think as little as possible about the tool you’re using to model and manage data and instead focus on the data itself. We work hard to make Element’s software powerful but, in a way (and this might sound counterintuitive), almost transparent.

Empowering You - the User - Through Thoughtful Design

How do we do this? We learn from you what matters most. So, we combine the best of consumer design thinking with our agile design methodology. Prior to joining Element, I designed software for consumer-facing organizations, (Google, Facebook, Oakland Museum of Art, and several design agencies), as well as organizations serving large enterprises, (Oracle, PeopleSoft). Other members on our team have worked in the SaaS, big data and data science spaces. Together, through our combined experiences, we’ve found that the first principle of good software design is keeping you – a professional with goals, aspirations and a job to do – firmly in mind. When you log in to use our products, you are our honored guest; we want you to feel confident and empowered as you use the various features and affordances in our software.

At Element, we start with ideas about who you are and what you do. We then confirm (or discard) those ideas as we meet with and work with you. Our customers are co-creators in our process. This close partnership allows us to better understand your goals, needs, way of working and pain points. It also forces us to challenge any preconceived notions we may have.

Internally, we leverage the insights we gather from talking with our customers during our discovery phase and apply an iterative, collaborative and interdisciplinary approach all the way up to product delivery. In order to solve complicated problems quickly, we look at each problem from multiple angles, simultaneously. We recognize that each of our Product, Engineering and Design team members makes distinct contributions to conversations and hitch them together in our process. We frequently invite our customers to participate later in the process, by bouncing ideas and concepts we’re exploring for a future release of our products. This tight collaborative partnership is what we feel helps us to arrive at the right solution and also sets us apart.

Dovetailing our Core Design Principles with our Values

In addition, we focus on several core design principles that include making the software:

  • Easy - Clean and straightforward design.
  • Clean - An intentionally subdued user interface.
  • Efficient - Streamlined tasks requiring minimal mouse clicks.
  • Consistent - A single visual and interactive language throughout the product.

If we’re successful, you’ll perhaps delight (yes, delight) in preparing your data for analysis quickly. By the way, these principles dovetail with two core values at Element: Creating people-centric experiences and simplifying the complex.

Sample screenshot of our Data Import Portal where it’s easy for you to connect to external data sources so that you can further enrich your industrial data.

The process that we go through isn’t easy and can mean big design challenges like iterating several times on a new area of the product to make sure we’ve addressed the major use cases, or adding nuance to a feature to ensure we’ve addressed all of the edge cases. But the result, we believe, is software that is better tuned to your needs and expectations.

Screenshot of Pipelines and Transformations, which makes it easier for you to connect to and prepare your data for analysis.

You may not consider the design of our product while using it. In a way, that’s good. But rest assured there’s a lot of work that goes into making your experience easy, seamless and, hopefully, delightful.

In the meantime, let us know how we’re doing. How can we improve? What would make our products even more easy to use and tuned to your needs? We’d love to hear from you. You can email us anytime at info@elementanalytics.com.