Comparing safety requirements across markets
Safety compliance teams at Whirlpool make sure products meet the requirements of every country in a particular market (for instance, selling washing machines across South America). It was difficult for them to find, compare, and meet the all the different sets of requirements out there. I led the user research and usability testing and contributed to the interface design on a concept to help them solve some of these issues.
To sell products in different markets, Whirlpool’s appliances need to meet the local requirements of several different countries. These include UL safety standards, electrical guidelines, water pressure ranges, and more. But this information is decentralized, so it’s hard to compile it all and make the right decisions.
We sought to make it easier for Whirlpool employees to compare requirements and help them make better design decisions.
I planned and facilitated several interviews with engineers, managers, and compliance professionals from UL and Whirlpool to get a sense of the space. Our research helped reveal several areas we wanted to focus on:
After defining flows and narrowing requirements, we matured our designs from sketches to high fidelity mockups over the course of several weeks. We regularly invited in Whirlpool and UL compliance teams to provide feedback.
I planned and facilitated usability tests onsite with ten Whirlpool employees. We ended up with several high-level findings we wanted to address before our final iteration:
Our final concept was a web-based requirements portal. Our goal was to get people in front of the data as fast as possible so they were able to start making decisions.
Users can get to the data quickly by selecting a category and market from finite dropdown menus. They can search for one requirements sheet or choose from the start to compare across markets.
All the product requirements from multiple sources are on one page. Points of contact help users easily reach out for more information if necessary.
The differences between the requirements in different countries are highlighted so they are easy to find. This helps safety folks more easily design appliances that meet the requirements of multiple markets.
The news section makes it easy to read about upcoming changes to requirements that may not yet be documented. This helps Whirlpool plan ahead.
We ran our participants through three real-life scenarios that could be improved with the web portal. The final concept received the following feedback:
Whirlpool approved of our concept, and UL created a whole new team to bring this product to even more clients. It now lives on as UL Go, a compliance portal for all UL partners.Next project: NASA Schematics Catalog