Success Factors for Mobile Maintenance: Usability and User Experience (UX)

Users much prefer mobile apps to loading up a website in a browser. It’s not hard to see why: these apps have been purpose-built for smartphones and tablets, and work smoothly.

Plattling, February 28, 2023

UX in Maintenance

Over half of internet usage in 2021 was via smartphones. The mobile app sector is booming and is one of the most lucrative across the globe.
We use apps in our private lives all the time. However, there are still obstacles to corporate usage – and it’s often in the maintenance department that they first raise their heads.

UX in maintenance

User-friendly tools are in short supply in this field. Frequently, the relevant department isn’t even involved in the decision between SAP PM and SAP EAM.

As a result, the maintenance technicians aren’t provided with a convenient mobile app for recording data and have instead to work with complex interfaces. Entering information is time-consuming.  This has negative knock-on effects for efficiency and data quality throughout the maintenance department.

The problems begin when the end-user’s needs are not taken into account. Corporate management and IT have assumed that it’s sufficient to have SAP PM integrated fully into departments such as Controlling, Asset Management, Materials Management and HR.  Usability and UX for maintenance get forgotten about, even if the tools are to be used on smart mobile devices. As a result, end products are created that don’t meet user requirements. There are three no-nos that are particularly critical to acceptance and usability:

1. Complex transactions and confusing dialogs

Too impractical; too complicated; too cumbersome: if your maintenance technicians can't find their way around the mobile tool and are overloaded with data, they’ll prefer to head back to their office desktop, and forget the smartphone or tablet. Good mobile solutions for maintenance optimize use of the limited screen space on the mobile device. They present carefully selected information clearly and simply, based on the specific situation.

2. Poor integration

If technical functionality available on the device is not integrated into the mobile maintenance software, digital potential is being wasted. For example, the phone’s camera could be used directly from within an app for documentation, by photographing components and saving the pictures directly into the system. It’s also possible to use the camera to scan barcodes or identify maintenance points based on RFIDs.

3. Lack of smart features

Log into an office desktop, draw up a maintenance order, work through a checklist, log a timesheet ... and then head back to the machine? This kind of working method wastes valuable time. Mobile maintenance tools with good UX offer smart features such as a start/stop button on the mobile device, so that process time can be logged or an order can be completed with a couple of button presses.

Visit us at Maintenance Dortmund

Over the last few years, people have become more and more aware of the importance of good user experience – and maintenance is no exception here. Ultimately, the goal is to make daily work easier and more efficient for the users. In fact, efficiency is what determines whether an app will actually get used.
Are you interested in learning more about UX and its potential for maintenance use cases? Come and chat with our team of experts at Maintenance in Dortmund: May 24 and 25, Booth HO4-5.

Let's get in touch.

Norbert Kytka, Headquarters Plattling