VIMANA – UX Improvement

About VIMANA and the redesign project

VIMANA is a software solution for industrial analytics that generates insight, predictions, and recommendations from machine data to enable production efficiency, and workflow automation. The administrators use the interfaces to manage machines, their performance, users and their communications within a shop floor.

The challenges

Users were having issues with parts of the application interface which were identified from sources such as direct customer emails and call support logs. They were carefully analysed to understand their genuine requirements and were translated into user stories. Pain points were initially listed and prioritized based on outcome impact.

Understanding the users

Factory visit was made to see how users were currently using the application. Their environment and work surroundings were noted to understand their pain points. Careful observations were made on the operators such as time frequencies during switching focus from machine to the application and other behaviours.

Personas

Personas for different user types were created based on research. It helped in understanding the users’ needs.

User Stories

  • As a manager I should be able to add multiple users into the system easily so that I can save time.
  • As a manager I can view all types of users so that it is intuitive at a glance.
  • As a manager I can view how well the machines are performing in the day and night shifts.
  • As an operator I can view the comments and tickets entered by other operators in previous shifts to understand the machine progress better.
  • As an operator I am able to identify a machine cycle and its time so that I know how the performance is progressing.
  • As a manager I can compare the start and end time in machine cycles view easily so that I save time and get a better understanding easily.

Information Architecture

Most users were having trouble with identifying, searching or navigating to content and then recognize it. Therefore, in order to redesign, I rebuilt the information architecture and iterated several times to address the problems. Following are few snapshots of the pen and paper work.

Challenge 1 - Adding bulk users into the system

Problem Diagnosis
Managers were taking a lot of time to add several users and there was need to add multiple users in an easy and quick way instead of one at a time.

Solution

  • Steps were clearly broken down in sequence.
  • Actions were mentioned that kept users informed on what they have to do next.
  • Numbered labelling was added for users that helped them carry out the tasks in a clear order.

Result: There was a major improvement in efficiency. The >30 minute task got reduced to an average of about 5 minutes.

Challenge 2 - More intuitive design for users list view

Problem Diagnosis
There were users with the same names and it was difficult to differentiate and see which machines were allotted to any user.

Solution

  • Users get allotted to machines and the view showed them in a simple comma separated style. This was changed to a tag style that improved its visibility/ scanability.
  • Card type layout for adopted and provision to add a profile picture was ideated.
  • A dark theme was also designed to as preferential customization.

Result: Recognition times decreased from 12 seconds to 2 seconds after adding profile photo. Dark theme improved user’s accessibility.

Challenge 3 - Progress axis

Problem Diagnosis
A lot of confusion was around the am/pm time units and getting the sense of it was becoming a challenge.

Solution

  • The machines run all day and instead of adding ‘am’ or ‘pm’ suffixes in the x-axis legend, the ‘pm’ shift was thickened for quick recognition.
  • The date was part of the same x-axis where the time was also shown. This was moved to a separate line below that improved clarity.

Result: Recognition time decreased from 15 seconds to 3 seconds.

Challenge 4 - Log view

  • Log view opens up as a panel on the right edge of the screen that shows list of tickets and comments added by different operators for a particular machine.
  • Users complained about not being able to differentiate the tickets and comments. Color and icons were added to address this problem.
  • Profile icon was additionally added to easily recognize who posted a particular comment.
  • Color prefix on each card was thickened for better ability to scan them visually.
  • From and To Date /Time information at the top were right aligned and split into two rows with the digits matching – Day, Year and Time digits.

Result: Users were satisfied with the improvements and positive feedback reflected on improved experience.

Challenge 5 - Machine states view

  • State of a machine was color coded for easier recognition.
  • Start and End time information was positioned in two separate rows with the digits aligning. This helped users compare the difference more easily. The duration of each state was additionally shown adjacent to it.
  • Added more clarity in the context menu by renaming the menu item labels. This increased intuitiveness.
  • Selected cycles were prefixed with a tick to add visual clarity.

Result: Simple change brought in an overall improvement in effectiveness. Users were happy with the changes.

Challenge 6 - Configure panel details

  • Page title section was styled to differentiate action and name of the dashboard.
  • Top-Down and Left-Right approach was adopted. All editable content and action buttons were moved to the single panel on the right side. Preview area on the left was maximized to show more.
  • ‘Delete’ button was color coded and isolated from other action buttons group so that users do not click it by accident.
  • Functional code changes were minimal and hence the efforts for programmers. The visual improvements helped novice users to understand the flow in a better way.

Result: User felt an increase in sense of screen control and there was an overall acceptance increase of more than 90% from the users.

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