Portable devices: delivering the right UX

Homepage Portable devices: delivering the right UX

Portable devices, industrial handheld devices, portable instruments, and mobile handheld computers. No matter the name they go by, these handheld devices are common sights across many industries today and are tools that many professionals cannot imagine working without.

Whether it is a mobile measuring tool, a sensor, a monitoring terminal, or a vibration analyzer like ACOEM’s ONEPROD FALCON, these devices are constant companions of field technicians who demand a battery life that will enable them to remain useful throughout an entire shift. Optimizing battery autonomy and enabling hot-swapping battery packs are key to avoiding a drained device and being high, dry, and disconnected far from a charging station.

The Software Challenges

  • Build robust but high performing and fluid interface
  • Compability with network standards
  • Open to professional apps/applications métier
  • Graphical user interface simple and intuitive + adapted to professional usage (gloves,etc)

The Witekio Response

Three software keys to a successful user experience for portable professional devices

1/ High Performance and Fluid Graphics

Industrial handheld devices use a screen as the primary user interface and performance issues are often tied to that same screen.

With device screens optimized more for robustness than image quality, getting the best performance out of a handheld device demands making smart software choices. Witekio engineers take advantage of graphics accelerators to render images close to smartphone quality.

Industrial handheld devices generally have processors that are less powerful than the smartphones they resemble. Witekio helps clients overcome these limitations by using 2D and 3D graphics accelerators, accelerated video decoding, and OpenGL for processing images, managing surfaces, and then combining them in an overlay on a co-processor.

2/ Compatibility

Industrial handheld devices need to integrate with existing applications, software solutions, and network infrastructure. Handheld device OEMs generally ensure that their devices meet typical smartphone standards but Witekio often goes beyond a manufacturer’s standard compatibility to deliver a more useful device.

For example, to deploy an application such as Google Maps it is necessary for the device to be compliant with and certified GMS by Google. Similarly, a device needs to be compatible with network standards for GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi in order to integrate many third-party business applications.

The Witekio team is also skilled at customizing the embedded software of a device to suit a particular business use case. For example, our engineers have deployed barcode management engines for stocktaking and inventory management devices, and ‘sensor fusion’ in order to recover and present data associated with various device sensors (e.g., location, height and movement, and acceleration).

3/ Interface

The era of smartphone and digital lifestyles has created expectations among consumers that now inform professional expectations for interfaces and experiences, too.

Industrial handheld devices demand the same sort of UX focus that consumer smartphones have embraced. This means adopting a user-focused approach from the outset with careful attention paid to the way that an end user will interact with the device. A touchscreen, for example, might be perfect for a smartphone but nearly useless if the end users are likely to be wearing protective gloves.

The UX for handheld devices also needs to be simple and intuitive. Field users and technicians need to be comfortable using devices and business applications without the need for in-depth training or reference to 250-page user manuals. In addition, latency needs to be minimized for professional handheld use where professional constraints inevitably mean expectations of maximal efficiency.

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