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User experience design and evaluation (and remote user research)

This service applies a user centered design approach to define the requirements for a user to interact with an ecosystem of intelligent devices, intelligent systems, and intelligent automation within the physical environment and working facilities.

Consulting related to Business Consultancy in the context of Manufacturing

Provided by Deep Blue Srl 1 year, 8 months ago (last modified 1 year, 8 months ago); viewed 774 times and licensed 0 times

Scope:

We apply a user centered design approach to define the requirements for a user to interact with an ecosystem of intelligent devices, intelligent systems, and intelligent automation within the physical environment and working facilities. This type of service requires a high knowledge of the working environment and the workforce duties ensured by mastering data collection activities* in various manufacturing settings to collect user needs and actively contribute to the design of the next generation of interfaces/equipment/interactions.

The final goal is to design and evaluate the experience of different types of users (e.g. operators, technicians, supervisors, …) when working with innovative manufacturing interfaces and production lines, identifying issues and benefits of automation support, including main usability and cognitive/physical ergonomics (including a number of KPIs such as Manufacturing Costs, Final Product Quality, Equipment Availability, Cost of delivery,…).

*The data collection activities aim at investigating a series of aspects:

- Working environment: The workspace, the general equipment and furniture, and the physical environment

- Organisation and staffing: Organisational management, people management, and personal factors

- Training: The systematic development of competencies required by individuals to adequately perform their work

- Procedures, roles, and responsibilities: Actual/prescribed working methods, positions/functions in the organization, and expected tasks

- Teams and communication: How people work and communicate with each other on shared goals and tasks

- Human in the system: The actions, reactions, and interactions between humans and other system components.

Approach:

The approach mostly undertaken foresees part of the process to be conducted in remote, where Deep Blue starts getting acquintenced with workers through vis-a-vis interviews and brainstorming sessions, while another part of the process is generally conducted onsite, through visits and observations directly in the field.

To compensate for the impossibility to travel during COVID-19, remote study protocols have been developed for conducting user research and studying the user experience (e.g., remote visual interviews, virtual simulations for conducting usability assessments). In addition, we are currently developing tools for automatic data collection that is not intrusive (no shadowing/no external observers on the production floor, less security, and safety issues to mitigate) and more objective and less impacted by the judgment of the observer. 

Outcome:

Outcomes of this type of service are requirements, guidelines and recommendations for innovative re-design, including quick wins, for mitigating the impact of issues and replicating/adapting the success cases on the basis of an in-depth analysis of contributing factors.

In order to adapt the service to remote conduction, we are currently experimenting a data collection platform featuring methods and techniques to ensure equally rich data collection as we would have had from the field visits; allow for interactivity (via a dedicated platform) during remote synchronous interactions (for example interviews) to make the experience a bit more user-friendly; experiment with non intrusive tools (e.g. wearing an activity tracker) and distributing some sensors in the working environment to collect relevant data from the user's movements. Data collected can be analysed and provide a model of the typical activities and movements, thus helping the user experience along with the different production floors.

Phases
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1. Prioritisation of intervention areas:

Identify the areas, most affected by potential issues of automation support, studying usability and cognitive/physical ergonomics in innovative manufacturing interfaces and production lines. 

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2. Evaluation of the User Experience

Collect data over targeted users’ daily interactions with innovative equipment, working environment and their workforce duties in general.

-Which are the struggles of current workers operating in the Manufacturing Setting? 

-Which user needs can actively contribute to the design of the next generation of interfaces/equipment/interactions? 

-Could the study of usability and cognitive/physical ergonomics add specifics to consider, when designing the UX?

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3. Mitigating Actions

Define a strategy and a plan for transferring recommendations into practical mitigating actions for the specific targeted users (e.g.,in-depth recommendations as well as quick wins). When working with innovative manufacturing interfaces and production lines, which mitigating actions could be put in place to enhance the benefits of automation support?

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4. Monitoring Strategy and Tools

Identify and/or create new strategies and tools able to monitor the impact of the mitigation actions adopted over the experience of the targeted users.