The manufacturing industry currently relies largely on paper processes and outdated software. Fusion Production is the next generation of cloud connected factory monitoring software—connecting machines, collecting data in real time, and automating process monitoring.
I led a team of 3 designers and 1 user researcher, designing experiences for web and mobile (Android and iOS apps).
The goals of this project were to provide real time feedback on machine status, track machine performance over time, and aggregate data for machine learning to improve factory efficiency.
This was an new to market project, and I worked with the Product Manager to examine the business case and define requirements. We began the project with in-factory contextual research. I led research activities with the team including: 3 site visits with shop floor tours, 20+ qualitative interviews, and a survey of 50+ subjects.
To better understand the mindset of our participants, we followed up our initial research by inviting some participants to take part in a journey mapping workshop.
Shop floor managers and machine operators mapped the steps in their operating procedures, identifying touchpoints and pain points. This helped our team empathize and understand the entire process. I synthesized the results and identified areas of focus.
WIREFRAMING AND MAPPING
DIFFERENT PLATFORMS, DIFFERENT USERS
The web application would be used primarily by the shop manager, so it focused on metrics and overviews.
The mobile app would be used by the machine operator as they ran jobs, so we needed to design for clarity in a chaotic environment, when the operator's attention may be elsewhere. The design focused on clear statuses and actions.
We tested prototypes on site to observe their usage in the context of a busy factory. One key finding: we originally designed the mobile app to be used primarily on phones, thinking they were more ubiquitous. However, most operators did not like handling a phone while they worked, and noted they'd prefer a mounted tablet. We followed up by optimizing the mobile design for landscape tablets.
- Team empathy building: Identifying the different needs and use cases of the shop manager and machine operator was key to the design approach of the entire product. Manufacturing is a niche industry, and most team members did not come from a manufacturing background. I organized factory ‘field trips’ so everyone on the team got the chance to visit a factory and talk to our target users. These trips were instrumental in getting everyone on the team to understand manufacturing workflows and build empathy.
- Designing for varied data: A key value proposition of Fusion Production was consolidating all the data from the factory in a single interface. Our data visualizations needed to clearly display the quantitative data from the machines, but this only told part of the story. A huge moment of insight was realizing that shop managers needed more--when machines went down they wanted to know the why. I ended up overlaying the qualitative data (reasons operator provided on machine down time) on the machine status to give a full picture of what was happening in the factory. This evolved into a major project of its own, and an exciting future direction for the product.