Hello all my buddies! This is a report blog of a design process for a pitching competion held by several Finnish companies and a Technology newspaper.
I wanted to report the process as it is also a UX design process for course work and a change to follow how the design forms in more detail. I selected the format for the change to create something new and of my own design and to take a look at Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and possibly some cool illustration methods.
It should be noted that both, the course project and the pitching competition are group efforts, but this blog is also a change to distance myself from that and try to record my thoughts and approaches to the task at hand and of course also to highlight my own work in the project.
Create a digitalization-based concept for automated and real-time reporting/performance monitoring.
Current State: Monitoring company performance is crucial. But the amount of performance variables are increasing and it is harder to get an exact overview. At the same time business environment is changing faster than ever before. Therefore the traditional monthly reporting method becomes too slow and still requires lots of manual work.
Challenge: Create a digitalization-based concept for automated and real-time reporting performance monitoring.
Answers to question:
How would the real-time daily, monthly and annual reporting look like in the future?
How would it look like from different roles perspective?
How would/could it change the company operations management?
I started the process by trying to decompose the challenge to try to get some order and guidelines to all of it. There are obviously some clear concepts in the setting that need to be taken in the account. The solution needs to:
work in real-time
be always available
support multiple users and views
show historical data
connect data to the real world
give clear overview of the status
But there is also a second part to all of this. As this is partly user experience design coursework, we need to look at the task at hand from that viewpoint as well, but the good thing is that there are a lot of synergy benefits both ways. Not only is it a concrete concept on which to build a UX design, but good UX is also an excellent marketing tool and the UX designer's viewpoint should provide benefits for the competition too.
The UXDE course work uses experience driven design (EDD) as a tool to emphasise the UX aspects in the design process. When looking at the challenge case from the UX design viewpoint some assumptions can be made. It seems clear the most important thing the solution should do is increase the users feeling of control over the system and events in it and reduce, not only work needed to make the reports, but the uncertainty between monthly or weekly reports.
Other minor experience goals might be clear and inspiring visuals and interactivity to make users and stakeholders more interested into the system. Also, if the solution manages to archieve the business goals it's bound to greate satisfaction, but that can obviously only be measured later.
After the first meeting
Today we divided some of the first phase work between the course group and enslisted some manufacturing knowledge to our competition group.
What is needed first hand, is to find out some information from the "customer", about:
current reporting practices
data in the reports and data sources
users of the data and reports (stakeholders)
brand, UX or visual guidelines
...and possibly some other materials that could provide a good base for some visualizations and for the pitch presentation of course. Not only would it reduce the need to create it ourselves, but it would anchor the project nicely into real world and could provide the basis for the course prototype as well.
Yesterday, I already got an idea for a real time gauge that could also visualize historical data at the same time. For example, it could show the current status with a normal pointing indicator, but also display a sort of confidence interval where the indicator normally is, in this way the same indicator can provide real time data, but also giver an intuitive information on how normal the reading is.
In an interactive real-time system this kind of indicator could show the current status of the system and give an idea what kind of values are normal, in this case the darker area. The indicator could also take into account the environment and change the relevan history data display as well depending on time of day or year, adjusting the display for the colder winter temperatures or during the night.
To increase the depth the indicators can be attached to presentations of real-world objects and here we can also test the visualization techniques and tools discussed in the introduction.
Finally dug in deeper into the pitching competition case, by trying to find out how Fastems handles the monitoring and reporting. I found out a lot of content from the Fastems web, from the software screenshots. I was able to build some sort of outline of it's capabilities and also got a pretty good idea of the questions that need to be asked and answered.
Next we need to find out about the user of the reports and all the stakeholders related to flexible manufacturing systems, so we can understand who needs what data and how it should be presented for them. We also need a clearer picture of the current reports. For the course we are trying to get Fastems visualor brand guidelines and possibly even their UX-guidelines, as we know we have them from the UXUS project results.
UXUS and EDD
As part of the course project we need to look at experience driven design and apply it in our design. So I was looking if experience driven design is used in industry and how? I was previously aware of the Fimecc (now Dimecc) UXUS-project which ended a few years ago and found out a lot of information about it and especially the participation of Fastems in it.
Fastems has in fact implemented a company wide experience goal, which takes into account all customer touchpoints and all areas of experience UX, CX and BX. So understandably I'm fairly exited to see if we can get some materials from them and try to design our course work according to their brand and maybe even pitch it to them and get some feedback.
First competition group meeting
We met up with the complete team to see where we're at and to brainstorm some sort of concept for the competion. At the momemnt we can't really go that far with the innovating as we still need more information from the companies on their reporting practices and stakeholders, but we came up with a core concept that we want to aim for.
Everyone should know, what has happened, is happening and is expected to happen, all the time.
This defines the three different aspects of the problem and reporting pretty well. It is historical, and even more importantly, analytical, meaning it condences known history data to to human understandable format. It's real time, as it provides data about the status of the system, but also of it's relation to historical data. Meaning it shows the nominal values in an intuitive format. And as the system understands it's current status and nominal status based on history it is also predictive, which is a key concept in how future factories should be run.
Which translates to: ARP
A weather forecast is a great example of machine generated prediction and this is also an interesting example of how to illustrate the predicted events. Similar methods could be applied to manufacturing industry as well, as data is often already available.
UX and EDD in industrial context
Embracing the benefits of customer experience can open up new possibilities for innovation and will help to differentiate the business, but UX design and thinking may be difficult in industry as users are not the same as customers so a very holistic method should be used, which can take all stakeholders into account. A good approach to develop the UX in industrial context is to focus on defining the design problems at hand, and investigate which conceptions of UX can be helpful in solving these problems. (Fimecc 2015). Fimecc UXUS project has defined EDD as a suitable method and has tried to explain how to implement it in a simple booklet, UX How (Fimecc 2014).
Emotions are a big part of experiences, and as the amount of automation and system complexity increases, users still need feel competence to have trust in the themselves and pride in their work and the users should not feel obstructed by the system or they may become frustrated. (JUSSI P. P. JOKINEN, PERTTI SAARILUOMA Fimecc 2015). Infact, a study about the companies participating in the UXUS research program found that 60% of the experience goals they set, for an experience driven design course, were about pride at work (VIRPI ROTO, YICHEN LU, Fimecc 2015)
EDD can design for positive experiences, which is a big leap for industry which has traditionally used design to prevent negative effects. The experience in industry is built from 3 components user experience, customer experience and brand experience, and to have truly good experience design all of the 3 need to be consistent and in line. (EIJA KAASINEN, et al., Fimecc 2015), which can lead to brand love, which often translates to the customers seeing it as a “premium brand”, meaning they will be happy to pay more for it’s services and products.(VIRPI ROTO, Fimecc 2015)
Some companies can also have company-wide experience goals, which states the experience that should be conveyed at every touchpoint to the stakeholders. The derived company-wide experience goals consist of two parts: an experience goal for design followed by the intended experience result for the user/customer. The first part concretizes the high-level experience goal as an experiential touchpoint characteristic, and the latter part explains the reason for the importance of the first part. (VIRPI ROTO, Fimecc 2015). Company experience goals can help to bring the employees in company together and also the company closer to the customers allowing it to perform better. It’s also important to remember in regards to performance that Organizations do not make any decisions, human beings do, and employees who understand the common goal can make better decisions for the company.
Meetings and concepting
We met with Fastems and got few presentations regarding the FMS and MMS5 systems and Fastems UX guidelines. There are already dashboards available in the MMS, but they don't necessarily cover all the levels of visibility. Especially on the high level a lot of information comes from the other business systems, CRM, ERP etc. So it's not integrated into the reporting that you can get from the manufacturing systems.
The above figure roughly illustrates the amount of diffrent level of data and how much of it is shown on one dashboard. The overlapping corners show the the information shared by the different levels of execution.
This means that users of certain level only have a very narrow view into the adjacent levels. This is an important issue as manufacturing is digitalized and moves to control with real-time information. This lack of information and interaction between the levels slow down processes and make leading with information difficult. Therefore a common situational awareness and transparency between the levels is needed. This of course makes a lot of data available to all users and data that they usually don't need, but the key is having the possibility to view data from other levels and designing the visualizations and delivery methods so that they suit the purpose are unobstructive and simple to use.
Technology and data fusion can create a solution for this by implementing new information display and delivery methods and giving all stakeholders a view throuhg the whole stack. An important point here is that just as different user levels have different information needs they also have different mobility needs.
I believe that designing for mobility is key, not only for the executive level solutions, but for factory floor as well. The mobility needs may be a bit different but same sort of solutions support both.
Based on the setting of our work and meeting with Fastems we identified the following experience goals for the solution that we deem important for the solution to succeed in an industrial context.
Feeling of control – The solution should make the user feel that he is in control of the information and events happening in the production line, meaning that the displayed information should be intuitive and easy to understand.
Feeling of presence – Using the solution should make the user feel that he is present in the factory or production line even if he’s away in an office on the other end of the facility or abroad on a holiday. Therefore the information should be real time.
Feeling of safety – The system should promote safe ways of working, by displaying warnings and suggesting preferred work methods and schedules.
Sense of trust – Most of all the user must be able to trust the information displayed, so forecasts and predictions should be clearly indicated as should the methods of analysis and nominal values.
Feeling of transparency and cooperation – The solution should provide the same information for everyone if requested supporting transparency between user groups and promoting cooperation between stakeholders. All information should integrated and provided for everyone and users should be able to assume the viewpoint of other stakeholders.
Feeling of understanding – Through simplicity the user should be made understand the content easily. The content should be clearly readable and understandable by all user groups.
In the end it was decided that the solution should consist of the following concepts.
Transparency and cooperation
Crowdsourcing the strategy
Omnipresense and integrated tools
Possibility to select and interact with information
Presentation was made that presented an idea of a day at office in 2030 where the user of the system was actually lying on the beach and connected to telepresense conference with his sunglasses that had an integrated AR display. The system allowed the users to collaborate and solve a problem, that was highlighted by automatic analytics, before it became serious.
A narrated version of the presentation is available in youtube:
"A day at the office" (Audio quality is not very good)