Plotting the course for the North Star

23 October 2020

How our design team plan ahead to future-proof Sea/.

Contrary to what some people might think, good design isn’t necessarily about originality and doing things differently. Design done well links together aspects of any subject (be it a chair, building or the whole future of shipping…) across what its users have always needed, still want and will need in the future. What delineates the design work that’s average from the stuff that creates buzz and excitement is delivering against these requirements and also adding a bit of aesthetic flare. Like wing doors on a DeLorean.

The design team at Sea/ works to ensure that every one of our modules is attractive, intuitive and functional, while also fitting within the working practices and trends of an industry that’s hundreds of years old. We’re not only about creating slick-looking digital tools. Our goal is to positively contribute towards and lead a transformation of the entire maritime industry.

We see the design process like a game of chess. We consult tirelessly with brokers, charterers, vessel owners and administrative teams to understand what they need in the present if they’re going to work digitally, without compromising on the things that have worked for years.

However, we are also future-proofing our tools against how we think the shipping industry could look in ten years’ time or more. For example, we currently work digitally on a screen with a mouse and keyboard but we know that voice-enabled technology applications are accelerating and Sea/ modules may need that functionality in the future.

Why does it matter? Put simply, if designers don’t think of these things now, it can lead to the need for a full re-design down the line.

One of the benefits of digital transformation is the benefit it brings to labour-intensive, data-heavy tasks such as auditing. Our Sea/chat module is a great example of how we have designed technology that offers the functionality of keeping all correspondence in one place, but with the same high-tech levels of encryption as a platform like WhatsApp.

How will maritime technology evolve in future? Nobody knows for certain, but that’s why we listen closely to our community of Sea/ users, to understand how their working practices are changing and what modules can enhance their day-to-day lives. Our community is our inspiration and it’s from them that we derive our best ideas. We’re just waiting for someone to suggest the Sea/ equivalent of wing doors.