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Digital PCR


Lead Product Designer, Project Manager


6 months


Figma, Miro

DNA analysis software and desktop device for academic research use.

I’m sure you’ve heard of a PCR test - it's used to test for things like COVID-19. But did you know it’s use cases are far more expansive? Polymerase chain reaction (abbreviated PCR) is a laboratory technique for rapidly producing (amplifying) millions to billions of copies of a specific segment of DNA, which can then be studied in greater detail.


The client came to Planet Innovation with the challenge of developing a redesign of the entire graphical user interface for both the human machine interface (HMI) and Analysis Package (Desktop Application) software within 6 months.

Recently, the client had acquired a product with an existing interface, but with drastically different look and feel. The goal was to integrate this product into the client’s existing product suite, while also improving the product’s overall usability.

Understanding the varied applications of the science and carefully organising functionality was essential to support this highly specialised user base. The bulk of the challenge laid in designing an intuitive interface which academic researchers have familiarity with, whilst introducing new functionality and workflows to the PCR process unique to the device.

The process

To begin discovery, I conducted a full audit of existing features of functionality in order to organise and prioritise efforts on known high-traffic user experiences. This also involved conducting user interviews and discovery sessions with key stakeholders and academic research scientists to identify key user wants, painpoints, and goals.

The interviews highlighted a need to ensure that not only the visual language but terminology should match in order to meet the mental model of the scientists who would be using the platform. There were features which the client wanted to plan for the future, and user interviews helped to validate the client’s product strategy. With this in mind, I helped to create mock-ups for additional screens which could help streamline scientists workflows and help them reach their own discoveries through a larger set of data visualisation tools.

I crafted the designs to alleviate known user-poinpoints with existing PCR software, whilst converting all components from old brand to a new modernised interface.

Human Machine Interface

At the same time as the desktop application, I created screens for the Human Machine Interface (HMI) - which is a touch screen available on the device itself. This 10.1” screen allowed for the scientist to access plate files which are then run on the device.

Component Libraries

For both the HMI and Desktop Analysis software, as part of the process I created a component library in figma to ensure consistency between screens as well as both platforms.

Design System and Guidelines

As a consultant, it’s important to create guidelines which can educate the client on UX and UI best-practice going forward as their product suite evolves. The client did not have an existing digital design guidelines document for their products, and so I leaned on the assets available on their public domain, and on maintaining patterns that existed in their current product suite.

The Result

After 6 months, what resulted was a modernised and slick user interface accompanied with a design system that could be extended upon for future features and functionality. We were able to check in with the client, and found a quick and seamless implementation of 50% of the new redesign in less than a month after design handover.