Handheld and benchtop scientific instruments, like the products made by Hach Company, call for careful consideration of both the hardware and software user interfaces. Custom keyboards and displays must be designed together to assure a coherent user experience. I designed the appearance and rules of behavior for these custom components, as well as for graphic displays in custom configurations.
At the same time, there are many safety and performance considerations when designing tools that will be used in a wide variety of environments. I had to balance cost and performance in specifying these parts, working with engineers and suppliers to define the right materials and adhesives. I also became well-versed in the iconography and rules for safety compliance ratings.
Part of the challenge (and fun) of designing custom user interfaces is specifying the input device. In this case, we needed a keypad with a quality feel that integrated well with the software. That's where it really paid off to have me managing the design of both. Since there are several different configurations of these electrochemical analysis instruments, it was important for the project budget to create a physical product design that could be printed several different ways for different analyses.