UID Comply!

Posted by on Jul 29, 2011

UID Comply!

This is an interesting little project that we recently completed. It was for the design of a bar code scanning application. Scanning applications are dime a dozen these days on smartphones, this one was different due to its very specific application. UID Comply!, the name of the app, is for use in military inventory control. UID is a military specification for the encoding of manufacturers information regarding their product in a very robust, laser etched barcode. Every part, assembly and eventually finished military product has one of these ID plates attached. Teams of inventory personel are deployed to track and locate every nut and bolt that the military may own. As you might expect, with the amount of spending the military does, the data surrounding the nature, location and quantity of their various investments is a big deal.
The handhelds used are time tested and robust Motorola units, identical to the ones used by various parcel delivery services. On more than one occasion I stopped the delivery person in my office to inspect their scanner. Even more challenging was the relatively “old” OS needed for the solution…Windows Mobile 5.
The solution works by the agent preloading their scanner with data for the day’s work. They then go to the field and start scanning parts and assemblies. At the end of work, they return to the system to reconcile their findings. The system is expected to record underages, overages and unexpected inventory. The device provides visual and audible clues to the agent to allow them to determine their progress and intercept any possible errors.
Our work involved the design of the UX information architecture and mapping the major workflows. Wireframe mockups were prepared to provide a schematic layout of the various screens. As you might expect, the available real estate on the form factor is challenging. Additionally, the interface needed to be clear and intuitive in a variety of conditions both inside and out.
From all accounts, the finished project was an enormous success for the client.