VIMANA Operator Touch App

UX Case Study - Overview

VIMANA provides software solution for Industrial Analytics. Operator Touch is one of the apps designed primarily for iOS tablet device that enables shop floor machine operators to update machine status and be more productive by staying informed using real-time performance data.

Problem Statement

While real-time machine data kept users informed on machine status, there were times when planned downtimes had to be overridden. Operators would not know the machine state cycles and their duration history. Operators had to view a conventional log book that contained hand written updates about the machine handled by the previous shift operators. These lead to decrease in production efficiency and increased time delays in between processes.

Users and audience

Machine operators handling CNC machines that make heavy and precision manufacturing parts. At times these users also wear noise cancelling headphones to reduce noise coming out of the machines as they drill or cut metal. It was later found that some users also wear gloves as a preventive measure.

Roles and responsibilities

Research, user-interviews, wireframing & prototyping, lo-fi, hi-fi designing, usability testing.

Scope and constraints

Timeline: 2 weeks. Design was to be done for iPad touch screen size and the interaction components had to be large enough for the operators to use with their fingers.

Process

Research & Strategy

I started by brainstorming with stakeholders and field services team to understand the exact requirements of the users, and then come up with a solution. I listed some assumptions and had them validated through response collected via remote survey forms from machine operators across various shop floors.

Findings:

  • 6 in 10 operators wanted ways to change or override the machine state cycle.
  • All operators wanted to move to a digital log book from the conventional book type.
  • Operators felt that metrics such as adding part counts and classifying them would be useful to know if they are meeting targets and on time.
  • 8 in 10 operators wanted to view cycle history and progress so they meet their targets and keep up their performance.

Next, I used the insights generated to come up with a persona to guide my design decisions.

Ideation

After I gathered insights and identified needs, I started brainstorming on paper to collate all my thoughts and get some goals to achieve with my design. I set some high level goals and a list of features were feasible to build on an iPad.

Goals:

  • The app should look intuitive for the user.
  • Panels can be configured or placed as how the user feels comfortable.
  • Operators should be able to quickly get the information they want without navigating to multiple screens.
  • Buttons should be well placed that follows standard accessibility and best practice guidelines for a touch interface.

Features:

  • Show machine cycle list – state of machine using standard color code.
  • Digital log book with various events.
  • Classification buttons to reclassify a state cycle.
  • Highlight current machine state.
  • Include metrics such as duration of Producing, Planned and Unplanned Downtimes, current Part kind, spindle speed, etc.

Sketching - lo-fi designs

Design

After few pencil sketches and iterating on them, I moved on to creating the pixel-perfect screen prototype.

User Testing

The prototype was shared with selected users and followed a task based testing approach. I tested with 5 users by giving them tasks to achieve. I conducted 2 rounds of testing – one low-fi prototype and another with hi-fi prototype.

Outcomes

  • Time on task drastically reduced by 70% leading to an overall 60% increase in operator efficiency.
  • Operators were able to catch up on target part counts with real-time informed data on the screen. They were able to input as well as classify bad and good part counts both incrementally or in one single input.
  • Finding log book entries made by previous shift operator became a lot easier and clearer for the current operator to continue on the machine.
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