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UX in Complex Domains



AVEVA have a long heritage of creating advanced software tools for the marine and construction industry with an emphasis on tightly integrated workflows and digitally driven efficiency. AVEVA Everything3D™ is the leading 3D CAD application for plant design.


Dovetailed led on new idea generation, user research and UX design for AVEVA’s flagship product Everything3D™ and peripheral products and services, including Engage and Insightly, for a period of 5 years. Dovetailed helped establish UX practice and principles across all AVEVA’s branches globally. We implemented a UX strategy across AVEVA and led on user research studies globally. We also designed cutting edge interactions and UI in an agile, user-centered design environment. Dovetailed also helped AVEVA establish and recruit internal UX resource which Dovetailed managed and oversaw.

"Dovetailed has been a catalyst for change in bringing the UX concepts through into practical use in our design and development process following Scrum/Agile principles. The team has delivered new insight into user behaviour as well as being instrumental in generating innovative ideas and designs." 

Vice President

Creating just the right

To facilitate a user-centric product development process, Dovetailed generated a set of personas to represent different end users of AVEVA’s Everything3D™ in collaboration with product owners and global end user groups.


Personas helped software developers and technical stakeholders to see problems in terms of their customers' needs, rather than purely lines of code. Over time these personas would become familiar and cherished members of the development teams. Personas were also pivotal in user research studies and in evaluating our designs – would our personas be able to make sense of the user journey? When using the interface, would they need to see a function in one particular place?

Design like no other

With E3D we revisited the fundamentals of the Plant interface and rationalised functionality into logical user journeys built around our users’ needs and goals (i.e. ‘jobs to be done’). Dovetailed’s UX researchers invested considerable time and effort into examining and re-examining the necessary steps in the multitude of workflows that were required for specific tasks through remote user research and running focus groups with end user groups.


Through extensive design iteration our UX designers eliminated unnecessary steps and enshrined consistent behaviour throughout the application. The result of this attention to detail can clearly be seen in how we brought all the functions closer to the context, which we meticulously designed to accommodate E3Ds complex feature set. By bringing key functions to the areas where they were  needed most, making them  incredibly fast to access and making them effortless to get right first time, allowed us to create an entirely novel and delightful user experience for these very complex user journeys.

User Journeys and 'jobs to be done'

We set out to create an ambitious design that not only looked good and felt right, but gave users a more superior experience, saved their time and built on users’ existing knowledge of the domain. An example of this is a set of functions called the PowerWheel™. This is an interactive set of tools that allows expert users to find things with a quick swipe and for more novice users to discover things for themselves. An understanding of user cognition, memory and behavioural science allowed us to create an experience that helped AVEVA to add another dimension to the user experience.

Usability testing

Throughout the development phase UX designs were usability tested to ensure user journeys and layouts were logical, consistent and above all intuitive. Task duration, number of mouse-clicks and cursor movement were measured by setting research participants realistic tasks to undertake.  Analysing the hours of video taken during these sessions helped flush out inconsistencies, simplify user journeys and create a fluent user experience. A by-product of this rigorous design approach was that the data collected provided the basis of marketing claims which could prove how much more efficient customers could be with new releases of the software.

Design Thinking Culture

For the first release of E3D, Dovetailed piloted a design-thinking culture across 9 scrum teams within the company, which persists to this day. Instigating a company-wide policy of designing 1 scrum ahead of any code writing enabled new ideas to be rapidly iterated in an agile manner, shortening development time by reducing the re-working of code needed to accommodate design iterations. This approach also enabled more innovative and user-centric innovations to be implemented by providing time to research, design and develop them fully. Our application of agile involved providing practical advice to product owners; helping them formulate and write user stories, breaking epics into these user stories and supporting them in making user-centred decisions during planning sessions.

With a design-thinking approach we have been able to drive a great deal of innovation in AVEVA’s Everything3D™ user experience. New concepts have been introduced that were inspired by research in the fields of HCI and gaming. This included: the Power Wheel, In-canvas Editor, Easy View Creation in Draw, Fluent UI, Fly out View Ports, Message Log and Clash Checker. A new look-and-feel for AVEVA’s Everything3D™ has also emphasised the key UX changes which have been beneficial to end users. Our contribution was described as the “catalyst for change in bringing the UX concepts through into practical use…” Gavin Watton, VP Improvements Execution

Disruptive UX

AVEVA’s Everything3D™ is the leading product for Plant design, underpinned by a strong commitment to user-centric user experience and disruptive UI innovations.


Innovation of the year 2013

Demo at Microsoft Build 2016

  • Qualitative and quantitative user research

  • Establishing internal and external global user reference groups

  • Persona and user journey development

  • Research analysis and identification of unmet needs

  • Creative ideation and front-end innovation

  • Co-creation with client teams

  • Development of UX wireframes and detailed designs


Physical and Digital​


Clean Tap​

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