Designing for an international audience

16 October 2020

Pete Hotchkiss, Head of UI/UX for Sea/, discusses how our team begin to design for the international audience of Sea/.

As a global industry, shipping is host to a multitude of different cultures, personalities, working patterns and skill sets. So how, as a designer, do you create digital tools that are accessible across the entire spectrum? We caught up with our unparalleled design team to hear more about their approach to creating Sea/ products which work intuitively and efficiently –  no matter who you are, where you’re from or what you do (as long as it’s shipping).

The captain of our design team is Pete Hotchkiss and he believes data is king, particularly when it comes to design. That is why, in addition to deciphering qualitative and quantitative data provided from across the globe, Pete and his crew are masters in the art of observation. In fact, this is where they collate their most insightful intel.

Pete explains: “When designing a module, we need to consider how the end-user will approach the workflow along with cultural differences that they may adopt. For example, when building Sea/calc, our voyage estimation tool, we observed that brokers in the UK are quite methodical with how they approach the module while brokers in Singapore tend to be more ad-hoc and with their day-to-day usage.

“Through observation, we garner vast and invaluable insight which helps us to design modules that cater to the different operating styles without hindering the format or functionality of modules.”

Unlike other sectors, English is the international language of the maritime industry. This means that the design team do not have to contend with huge internationalisation challenges such as creating interfaces that provide enough space for regional languages without distorting the design. This means that they can quickly meet customer demand for new modules. However, as with any global business, there are some small localisation requirements. At Sea/, this is predominately around ensuring the relevant currencies and local times appear on the end-user’s screen, something that the design team have finessed. After all, “design isn’t finished until somebody is using it.”

To experience next generation design and find out how Sea/ can support your business growth, request a demo here: