A new hotel experienceAn ever-rising number of people is travelling. At the same time, the needs of travelers are changing. Traditional hotel concepts focused on intensive personal service and comfort are complemented by alternative hospitality concepts. Digital technology can replace transactional administrative processes while ensuring that the service and comfort level is not compromised towards the customer.
Testing and prototyping (for check-in and hand palm scans)We performed user tests to analyse the intuitiveness of the technology interfaces. In our design, we had to ensure that customer interaction with these interfaces didn’t feel too “technological” and were sufficiently intuitive. A minimal interaction (the guest holds his/her hand palm in front of the palm scanner), a very straightforward way of working, and a guaranteed low failure rate. Using a palm vein access system covers these two criteria perfectly: everyone has a unique palm vein pattern in each hand, which guarantees both safety and ease of use.
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With a great deal of returning customers, Colmar was looking for a loyalty application to be able to reward their clientele. Achilles guided Colmar through the complete creation of their loyalty platform.
Uniting Colmar with their customersColmar wants to serve good food in a place where customers feel at home and choose to come back to. It is important to get to know your customers to create such an environment. Therefore Colmar wanted on the one hand to retain more of their guests, and on the other gain insight in their behavior. On top of that Colmar was looking for a way to reward their returning clientele and enhance the communication between them.
A user friendly loyalty applicationTo achieve customer insight and customer loyalty, the team agreed upon a smart saving system for the application. Customers start saving from their first scan, by presenting either the app itself or the physical card. And the sooner they come back, the more they can save. It’s possible to use the saved up credit any time the customer wants, in all of the restaurants. Colmar gains information and grows customer retention, and the customer can save money: a win-win situation.
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Case study: Bringing Appti to lifeFor Colmar, Achilles Design took the lead throughout the whole design process. Firstly they defined an efficient UX strategy, validating this through workshops and user testing. Next they focused on UX Design, testing different prototypes until agreeing upon the perfect flow. After that the team worked on UI design. Finally Achilles supervised the development by our software partner Cubitec and also delivered the support.
A strategy for succesFirst things first: Achilles started with laying out a sound strategy. During a series of workshops, they guided the Colmar team in defining the strategy for this new service. Our designers helped them in determining a clear goal and purpose, and to match the business requirements with customer needs. This process led to laying out the blueprint of the loyalty program’s mechanism. Also, the requirements for the minimum viable product (MVP) were defined.
Setting the user story straightWith the MVP scope defined, it was time to transform this into user stories. This is a fundamental step in the designing process. Different user flows are conceived. Positive actions are taken into account, but also the unhappy flows, when a user encounters a certain problem. Especially these ‘edge’ cases should be drawn out properly to prevent gridlock. These flows are set up for distinctive users, each with their own goals leading to a specific outcome.
Every feature that is added, has to end up in the right place. Therefore prototyping is an important part of the process. During the design of these prototypes Achilles uses a minimal design which can be adjusted quickly, when given feedback. The design is basic and uniform, so the user can focus on functionality, and the look of the application is not perceived as the final design.
The evaluation of these prototypes happened during a testing period in 2 different Colmar restaurants. Over twenty people were questioned about their experience. The panel consisted of a diverse group: from digital natives to elderly people. To confirm assumptions, forms were composed and the data was used to correct ‘hiccups’ in the process.
UI Design: a flowing architectureBesides being functional, a product also has to have the right look. For Colmar, Achilles embraced a ‘digital first’ branding approach. Colmar has a recognizable, warm design, which Achilles wanted to adapt into the new Appti brand. They helped in creating this new brand extension from brand name to final visual concept. By adopting elements of the Colmar brand identity as a basis, it was made sure that the new platform fitted perfectly with the existing Colmar brand.
Every screen that is part of the application is extensively tested. The ‘happy flow’ screens and also the screens that are shown when something goes wrong: multiple possibilities are taken into account. These flows are set up by drawing out a map of expectation patterns and testing these assumptions. A final touch to the user flows is the use of microcopy, or specific interaction copywriting, to make sure every part of a sentence is unambiguous. This attention to detail creates a frictionless user flow.
Apart from applying effortless movement throughout the application, Achilles also pays attention in making a product scalable. This scalability is established by consistent documentation and the creation of a design system. This way components can easily be re-used and expanded when needed.
A well-oiled platformFinally Achilles put together all these design elements into the creation of the application. The development of the application was coordinated by Achilles and executed by their software partner Cubitec. The platform is built as a responsive web application, to enable perfect usage on both desktop and mobile devices. The Achilles team ensured that the designs were correctly implemented into the platform, to establish a smooth user experience. Also after Appti went ‘live’, they were responsible for the follow-up of the application.
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Our development partner Cubitec needed help to shape the complete interface and its look & feel for their platform ‘Opvang.Vlaanderen’. They were in need of a user friendly interface (UI) to give their customers a user experience (UX) as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
How to bring warmth into a platformNew parents want a warm and safe daycare that feels like a second home for their newborn. They don’t want to worry about yet another thing that is involved with young parenthood. That’s why we wanted to create an effortless user experience for Opvang.Vlaanderen, with a cheerful look and feel that brings warmth to the platform.
A visually attractive and intuitive user interfaceTo engage ourselves in the world of daycare and align the look and feel of the platform with Cubitec, we held in-depth interviews. Subsequently we proposed a brand identity with spring colours and a happy duckling as their logo. Opvang.Vlaanderen is used throughout Flanders, so we made sure the style was fit for the whole region. We created a user experience (UX) that was straightforward and designed a good looking, intuitive interface. That way finding daycare is child’s play.
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A modular moss panel that removes PM from the airBESIX Group, the largest Belgian multidisciplinary construction group, joins the battle against air pollution in urban environments. Academic research indicates a high potential for natural moss to remove PM (particulate matter) from polluted air. BESIX Group contacted Achilles to work out a solution that takes advantage of this promising natural phenomenon. A modular system consisting of active panels was conceived which can be installed on wall next to congested roads, tunnel exits, construction sites,…
After testing a variety of irrigation and ventilation principles, Achilles Design created the system layout, designed the product and engineered the complete system. For a pilot project, several panel modules were assembled in-house and installed at a construction site in Leiden.
Creating the optimal climate for the moss.Only if the moss is kept in good shape, its full air-filtering potential can be unlocked. Elaborate experimenting and testing identified the optimal substrate, irrigation and ventilation. During this process Achilles Design converted the academic knowledge into a practical biosystem solution.
Building a system around the mossThe overall system architecture has a major impact, not only regarding the product cost but also with respect to performance, the ease of maintenance, modularity, durability, etc. That’s why we systematically considered different approaches of subsystem decentralization, component layouts and materialization.
Bringing ideas to a real life situation.Quite early in the development, we had the opportunity to build an actual first pilot project in Leiden. The short timeframe forced us to make quick decisions and immediately bring ideas to reality, combining off-the-shelf solutions with a first production batch.
Natural moss with IoT technologyThe moss wall is packed with sensors to monitor all relevant parameters: the humidity of the moss, the PM concentration of incoming (= polluted) and outgoing (= filtered) air, temperature, etc. Through an online platform, we were able to manage irrigation and ventilation regimes and monitor the effect on the performance of the moss wall.
Create an identity that reflects the positive energy and vibe you get by using the moonbird trainer and appMoonbird researched the importance of the human breathing rhythm and how it affects our mental state. The company came to the conclusion that breathing has a major impact on our wellbeing. As a result, moonbird developed the device and app, a handheld biofeedback tool that supports users in their breathing exercises, it helps users to find their inner peace and increase focus and concentration in an easy and interactive way. The device can literally be used everywhere and whenever needed. Achilles Design was asked to develop moonbirds brand identity that fits the purpose of its solution and that supports the emotional goal of using the device – an identity that looks humanly intuitive and that blends well with its natural purpose.
Before we started designing, we organised a brand sprint. Together with the client we try to get a better understanding of the purpose of the product and to define the user persona they want to reach.
A strong name needs a strong identityThe client had already defined the brand name. With a bird as a key symbol and a mood board, we started brainstorming and developing different impressions and generated a number of options moonbird could look like.
Colors and formsThe brand identity had to reflect associations with calm, guiding, balance, care, nature, and sensitivity, which guided us in the creation of a pallet of soft and emotional colours. Positivity, curiosity, science, and coaching were additional characteristics that needed to build a modern and out-of-the box personality. We used the recognisable ‘Yves Klein blue’ to highlights the scientific background.
By adding organic and abstract forms we gave the overall look-and-feel fun and energy without being too explicit in our message.
Colours and photographyBreathing is a natural phenomenon. Therefore, using natural elements in natural light as well as calm surroundings is meant to support the feelings that are related to inner peace and inner self. We worked with certain colours to express the feelings that are associated with using moonbird. Besides that, we also used specifically suitable photography that shows the personas who use moonbird and who have found their desired state-of-mind.
The moonbird handheld deviceNot only did we create the brand identity for moonbird, our product design team developed this handheld device that will guide the user through their breathing exercises by providing tactile feedback. In close co-operation with moonbird, Achilles took care of the complete product design process, from product ideation to industrialisation and sourcing of the first batch of products.
The hyposafe SubQ technology allows to monitor your brain activity continuously. The challenge is to create a product that is only minimally obstructive as it has to be worn continuously. When designing the external device we had to make sure that the product is as invisible as possible, yet still able to interact with the user, especially when an alarm occurs. Being used 24 hours, the reliability of the product is of extreme importance.
Slink designThe product consists of a tiny implant and an external communication device that is connected with the implant through an inductive coil. The final design of the external device is a highly miniaturized flat product that can be magnetically fixed below the patient’s clothes. The magnet has a circle shape allowing the patient to blindly find their way to the button positioned on the inside of his shirt. The optimized magnet will ensure a strong fixation allowing the user to be very active, perform sport etc. An auditory and visual alarm is given in case of a nearing hypoglycemia.
Engineered for productionAchilles Design took the lead in all mechanical design & engineering, while Zenso was responsible for the design of the external communication device and designed all the electronics, firmware and PC-based software from feasibility phase up to design and production. Focus on superior quality and reliability was key to achieve the Uneeg quality requirements.
Kipando believes that cycling is one of the key mobility solutions in a changing world of movement. Target is to increase the availability of bicycles through an electronic bike lock integrated with an online service that let bikers locate, and rent a bike. By focusing on the B2B market, the system had to incorporate several points of views from the various stakeholders.
Being a start-up, Kipando needed a partner with a proven track record in designing smart products as well as bicycles. They therefore joined forces with Achilles to develop their service solution. We had to combine strategic service design with state-of-the-art product design, engineering and digital design. We were responsible for the development and total project management.
Small, smaller, smallestA major challenge in this project was to create a bike lock that can withstand brute force, and is still compact, lightweight and allow the bike to be safely locked. We came up with a patented mechanical solution that combines all requirements in a simple and reliable design and that can be easily attached on all standard bikes.
Functional prototypes to validate performancePrototyping is generally very essential in product design, but it was particularly in this project. Early in the design process, raw prototypes gain insights e.g. on how easy a specific shape would be applicable on different bike frames. Further detailing of the design results in more advanced prototypes that allow verification of functionality and extra performance requirements such as water tightness, durability, etc.
A high quality e-bike with a revolutionary navigation cockpitWe helped Kingo to provide sightseers with a fun, novel and healthy way of exploring the places they visit, while being at the wheel of their own experience.
Shaping our ideasThrough sketches, basic 3D models and rough breadboards, we explored valuable solutions for the many challenges at hand. This included the general cockpit build-up, attachment to the bike, waterproofing and integration of connectors, speakers, power button and other design constraints. Thanks to our experience, a thorough analysis of the e-bikes market, and Kingo's company values, we could quickly list requirements for the bike frame and all of its components. To start talks with potential suppliers, we created a smart photo montage of existing frames, newly developed components and graphic decals which simulated the perfect Kingo e-bike.
User interface of the navigation cockpitThe digital user interface has a 1024 x 600 resolution touchscreen and provides the user with different route options. On time notifications of points of interest and points of eating and drinking give the user information in a way that was never seen before. Using barebone wireframes we constructed the structure of the app, the icons, and the animations that will support the user having a new way of experiencing an e-bike ride. In every wireframe iteration the icon design and styling of the app were evaluated and redirected to meet the needs of the end-user until it was deemed a perfect fit.
PrototypingBy sourcing the right parts and materials, within budget, we could quickly perform tests on the first prototypes. Checking waterproofness, finetuning antenna placement, and evaluating readability of different displays we were able verify these critical functionalities in an early stage of the design process.
The most comfortable way to discover an areaThe Kingo Smart Bike is a connected e-bike equipped with a 10 inch cockpit that operates as a true bicycle board computer. It displays real-time telemetric bike data, such as speed, battery percentage and distance, and has a high-end bicycle navigation system. The Kingo Explore App itself offers an on-board digital touristic cycle map with three different navigation options. In the ‘discover the region’ modus, tourists can freely explore the region. The map on screen shows the cycle networks and touristic highlights of the region. Together with the ‘search by address’ option, the cyclist is in full charge to adapt his journey at any given moment. Finally, ‘predefined routes’ with points of interests to visit offer tourists full guidance for their trip.
Develop each year a range of school bags for all agesKangourou, a private label of Colruyt Group, offers a wide variety of school related products. Together with the rebranding of their writing supplies, Achilles Design also helped to develop their range of school bags. Kangourou offers satchels and backpacks for children of all ages, from toddlers to tweenies to teenagers. With all of these ages having different needs and ideas about what is trendy, it is hard to create a line which seems coherent and lives up to the brand, unless you have a solid handle on the core values of the brand. From this foundation you can build up the range. The functionality of the individual bags and the look and feel are thoroughly analyzed and improved upon year after year.
TrendwatchingMood boards on current trends inspire our fashion designers to create new characters, illustrations, prints, patterns and color palettes. They also take a closer look at different fabrics and sewing details.
The children choose via custom made online surveyIn the next stage we ask a large group of children to review our designs in a custom made online survey tool. By scoring different designs and adding comments on why they do or don't like a design, the favorite designs come forward.
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