Instron: Bluehill Universal Software

A world leader in materials testing systems sought to transform the user experience and bring brand uniformity to their next generation static materials testing software.

To understand the broader use context and requirements of Instron’s most important stakeholders, Essential undertook a series of on-site interviews with users and purchase decision makers to identify contextual influences, unveil feature opportunities, and clarify customer needs, opportunities, and preferences. Essential also worked closely with the Instron development team, driving collaborative work sessions to define key user interface objectives and to facilitate new approaches to understanding workflow.


The current software was seen as complex and difficult to navigate for many users, particularly novice users or operators who undertake multiple repeat testing operations.  In response, the teams created a system that provides accessibility through easy to use workflows and streamlined functionality that makes the new software more universally accessible to a wider range of users.


To further drive productivity the user experience now shifts the machine control software from a remote desktop interface using a mouse to scroll through the interface and input methods to run tests, to one that was built from the ground up to be optimized for touch. The placement of a large portrait touch display on the physical testing platform allows the operator to closely align test setup and testing methodology to the equipment. (This minimizes the repetitive movement of the operator, and improves the overall ergonomics of testing)


Essential created a user interface that is modern, touch-friendly, and easy to navigate while simultaneously leveraging core functional components from the original software. The visual system embodies a clear, friendly color palette, updated iconography to better communicate the content it symbolizes, pre-loaded test modules, quick test methods, and widgets to simplify the on the screen experience, and simple layouts to embody a dynamic user interface.


The Bluehill Universal software platform was successfully launched by Instron and is now being applied across their global materials testing portfolio, improving accessibility and streamlining workflow. Importantly, the new digital design language reinforces global brand equity through a set of consistent design principles and guidelines, that provide the structure to consistently plan, design and implement future products.