Making peoples lives easy is what Mikael Leppä’s job is all about.
As engines and installations on board vessels and in power plants are getting a solid boost of artificial intelligence and can spit out almost any data we want, we need help in making sense of it all and digging out what’s relevant.
That’s Mikael’s job. As Senior UX designer, it falls on him to make Wärtsilä’s offering easy to use. As Internet of Things and digitalisation are creeping into the marine and energy industries too, installations become more complex.
“My job is to sift out the relevant features but make them as invisible as possible, so that they only surface when needed. How things look is part of my job, but it’s more about helping the end-users use the solutions in an efficient way,” Mikael explains.
Before joining Wärtsilä three years ago, Mikael worked as a consultant, helping his customers get user experience design right. But as a consultant he rarely got to influence the projects on a larger scale. That’s why he sought out a position in an industrial company. Wärtsilä ticked the boxes.
“As an in-house designer I get the chance to make an impact at an early stage and follow the whole process.”
While vessels and power plants become increasingly sophisticated, the equipment still needs to be easy to use, as intuitive as any smartphone. More often than not, there are several different nationalities in the engine room or on the bridge and sometimes there is not even a common language among the crew.
“Although the equipment might in itself be complicated, it must be easy to use”, says Mikael.
So getting under the skins of the end-users is crucial in Mikael’s work. That’s the reason why Mikael tries to go on board one of the ferries crossing the Baltic sea and elsewhere as often as he can. He’ll hang out on the bridge and in the engine room, talking with the people who operates the solutions Wärtsilä makes.
The development in digitalisation is super fast, and the need for smart user interfaces will only increase. According to Mikael, the next big thing will be engines communicating with each other.
“Engines can learn from each other over the internet, such as sharing information of optimal settings. Thanks to even more intelligent algorithms, the engines will increasingly be making their own independent fine-tuning.”
Still, the crew needs to be in control. Bur for that to work you need to know how to handle the complex machines. Thanks to Mikael and his team, you can count on it not being too complicated.