Rotterdam, 17 September 2019 – At VSTEP, our talented professionals collaborate to deliver products that meet and exceed customer needs. The Behind the Sim article series celebrates that by focusing on the human side of our technology and development. In this edition of Behind the Sim, meet Tugce, a UX designer at VSTEP, and explore her thoughts on creating meaningful experience for NAUTIS users using a holistic approach.

Tugce SAP

Tugce has recently finished her studies in Human Technology at the Hague UniversityBefore that, she spent 2 years at the Rotterdam Mainport University where she pursued Maritime Officer studies. Currently she is working as a UX designer at VSTEP, where she can combine the experience of both studies.   

Hi Tugce, thank you for taking part in this interview. Can you introduce your background and position at VSTEP? 

“My maritime background and passion for the maritime branch initially drew me to VSTEP. I applied at VSTEP for my graduation project and designed a UI which displays all the key information data for our Full Mission Bridge simulator. After graduating, I was offered to stay and contribute to the company, and it was a pleasure to accept this offer. This was a nice opportunity to further develop my design skills. Now I am working in a field where I can execute my specializations from my studies and still work in maritime, where my heart is.  

Within my role as a UX designer, I focus on designing userfriendly interfaces and enhancing user satisfaction with NAUTIS Maritime Simulators. My tasks involve conducting in-depth interviews with our end clients to understand their needs and align them to our product design. From this data, I translate user needs into new or improved UI designs that remedy their problems and increase the usability and efficiency of our products. 

My responsibilities vary, but they all focus on being the users’ advocate and keeping their needs at the center of all development and design processes. My maritime background helps me a lot during research and design. I can understand and empathize with our maritime clients better, which makes my work much easier and fun.” 

Can you introduce one of the projects that you are working on? 

“We are currently developing a maritime simulator for home users and it is one of the most satisfying and challenging projects I’ve worked on so far. This product will enable maritime hobbyists all over the world to sail in different environments and control several vessels behind their home computer. For this project, I am designing a prototype for the Alpha tests and writing a research plan with my colleague Thibault. Having the full creativity to design a prototype and targeting a huge potential market can bring a lot of excitement!  

As an UX designer, you can relate to end users more easily. Being a bridge between clients and development is an exciting challenge, because it is difficult to translate users’ needs in a way that the back-end development will understand. To solve this, we use different tools such as creating personas and user journey maps which help us internally understand the user experience better. Understanding our users will help us make products easier to use for both the Instructor and the Trainee in NAUTIS. Regarding the home simulator project, I cannot wait to conduct the tests, analyse its outcomes and iterate that in the prototype”. 

What do you think is the role of UX design in developing NAUTIS products? 

“UX design plays a vital role in developing NAUTIS products. As NAUTIS is such a complex and extensive software, it is important to develop and improve our products closely with end users. By talking to them, we learn about their goals and expectations. A product should not only solve a task, but also show customers the visible results and align with their expectations. As Will Evans said, “If you don’t talk to your users, how do you know how to talk to your users?” Finding the best solution to a problem is only possible by taking a human-centered approach.” 

What do you find most enjoyable about working at VSTEP? 

“I really enjoy working at VSTEP. The dynamic atmosphere at the company where I have the freedom to express opinions, give and receive feedback is very motivating. Contributing towards the delivery of a user-friendly and functional maritime simulation solution is a great pleasure! 

As UX designers, our main goal is to solve users’ problems and provide them with meaningful software and experience. This is what I am aiming for in life: to help people understand their problems and make their product usage easier! All in all, being a part of the maritime community and doing what I enjoy is such a privilege!” 


VSTEP makes sure that you are prepared for real-life situations with our leading solutions for simulation and virtual training. Our state-of-the-art products allow you to train your skills for every scenario possible in a practical, cost effective and sustainable way. We are a Dutch based and ISO9001:2015 certified company. Stay up-to-date about the developments at VSTEP by subscribing to our newsletter or follow us on Linkedin.

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