SimPad wint prijs voor "design excellence"

De Award voor Design Excellence, die Laerdal Medical op 18 april heeft ontvangen, is een toonaangevende prijs voor design in Noorwegen. Deze wordt uitgereikt voor succesvol gebruik van design als een strategisch middel om innovatieve produkten en services te creëeren voor de consument.  

An extensive innovation process

When Laerdal Medical wanted to upgrade the remote unit controlling their medical simulators, the company wanted to develop a new and innovative tablet pc for training and education of healthcare professionals. This led to an extensive innovation process that culminated in the world’s first dedicated wireless steering control with touch screen, the ‘’SimPad’’. 

- Before the project started, we spent a lot of time interviewing and observing users of the existing solutions. Hence, we found out what worked well and what did not work well. Then we started identifying the opportunities for creating a better user experience, says Jan Holm, Marketing and Communications Director of Laerdal Medical, world leader in patient simulators and based in Stavanger, Norway. 

- Feedback showed us that customers were not very happy with the existing remote control from 2003. The company’s design department was therefore extended the authority to redefine the original assignment. Without such free rein this innovation would not have occurred, notes Holm.

Global testing
The designers developed a number of different interaction concepts; first simple paper models, then prototypes with touch interfaces. The prototypes were tested by users at home and abroad. 

 – The test results made us confident that we were on the right track before spending additional resources on development. Since 98% of the market for SimPad is outside of Norway it has been important having a good global spread of test subjects, says Holm.
Visual expressions given higher priority
While Laerdal Medical's own designers have been responsible for the concept development, interaction design and user testing; BEKK Consulting has contributed with great icons of medical concepts and also developed the graphical expression.

 - In this project, the visual expression has been given a much higher priority than is common in our industry. The end result seems to excite the market. People are just very enthusiastic and really want to use the product, says Holm.

-The collaboration with BEKK has worked great
- Collaborating with designers from other companies oftentimes speeds up the process of finding solutions that really work. The communication flows better when people speak the same language, says Kjetil Lønne Nilsen, in charge of the interaction design for SimPad.

 – And it looks like we have succeeded in not making SimPad seem technologically daunting. We wanted everyone, and especially nurse educators in their 60s, to have a great user experience. Therefore, it is now very rewarding that they all embrace the product.

Numerous people ordering
SimPad was launched at IMSH - the world's largest conference for patient simulation – in San Diego earlier this year. The reception was beyond all expectations and the product was great news at the conference.
- Numerous customers and partners ordered SimPad then and there, and we already have a robust list of customers worldwide who are now putting the product to use. We have an aggressive goal to replace the majority of the old remotes with the new version by 2014, says Holm.