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Snap-on Pro-Link iQ

Circa 2005-2006

The Opportunity

Bringing one of the first touchscreen diagnostic tools to the heavy duty vehicle industry. Traditionally, diagnostic tools were designed by software or hardware engineers with little shop experience, creating a gap in the user’s experience.

The Process

Agile week-long sprints with design and testing being done at Menlo Innovations while development was being done by Nexiq. Rigorous research and testing done in the field, at shops, with mechanics.


Resounding! User feedback was consistently positive about the UI and its ability to support their natural diagnostic workflow and problem-solving process. I personally know mechanics still using their Pro-Link iQ!

What made this project special?

Even though the screens are starting to show their age (they’d be earning their drivers’ licenses by now, har har!), there’s so much I loved about this project, I don’t know where to start. This was one of the earlier projects in my career and it solidified in me the value of iterating, validating, and using the right fidelity for the task at hand.

I loved the opportunity to bring simplicity, and hopefully more serendipity, to mechanics working on the job. It’s easy to misunderstand the people who work on cars because when most of us have to interact with them, it’s in the midst of a stressful (probably expensive) situation that we don’t want to be in regarding a topic that many know nothing about. Worse still, they’re often portrayed in the media as undereducated roughnecks when in actuality, mechanics are highly trained individuals attempting to diagnose and fix vehicles getting exponentially more complex.

The company and mechanics were amazing to work with on a personal level because I’ve always had a passion for the auto industry (even though this was focused on heavy-duty). Testing onsite at garages across the country meant we were researching across different personas as well as different use cases to get the design right.

What about me?

Activities performed

  • Collaboration with clients and solution architects on a weekly, if not daily basis.
  • Sketching, sketching, and more sketching.
  • Rigorous adaptation of paired-programming and paired-design methodologies in a short-iteration agile workplace.
  • Photoshop for high-fidelity mockups.
  • Usability testing methods that ranged from paper prototypes to MVP to beta software.

Things I loved

There was a collaborative spirit that meant people were unafraid to learn from each other and also a willingness to experiment in service of new or better methods.

The fun, positive culture meant that many of us socialized outside of work just as much as in the building.

About the company

Menlo Innovations was founded in 2001 and based upon the tenets of agile software development, extreme programming, and the removal of any physical barriers that could limit communication between or within teams. By 2007, Menlo had become one of Inc. 500’s fastest growing privately held firms in the US.