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AGILE UX RESEARCH

UX Research  |  Manufacturing Plant Survey  |  User Journey Mapping

Research UX: Welcome
Research UX: Service
Research UX: Welcome

SUMMARY

The project aimed to demonstrate the process of UX Design conducting Plant Discovery research to delve into operators' experiences with the CWP software tool. Despite initial challenges aligning Product and User Research expectations, we successfully navigated through differences in objectives. The end result was the creation of a User Journey, illuminating pain points and usage patterns. This deliverable serves as a roadmap for enhancing usability and user experience, highlighting the importance of bridging the gap between stakeholder expectations and research outcomes.

Research UX: Welcome

TLDR

  • Intended Purpose: Showcase UX Design's Plant Discovery research process.

  • Challenges Faced: Addressed disparities between Product and User Research expectations.

  • End Result: Produced a comprehensive User Journey.

  • Insights Gained: Identified operator pain points and usage patterns.

  • Next Steps: Utilize findings to enhance software usability and user experience.

Research UX: Welcome
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Research UX: Image

TOOLS

  1. Figma / FigJam

  2. Miro

  3. Product Plan

  4. Microsoft Word

  5. Microsoft Teams

  6. Microsoft Outlook

TEAM

  1. Principal UX Designer

  2. Lead UX Researcher

  3. Senior UX Researcher

  4. UX Manager

  5. Lead Product Manager

  6. Product Manager

MY ROLE

  1. Principal UX Designer

  2. Systems Architect

  3. UX Researcher

  4. Workshop facilitator

  5. Photographer

  6. Videographer

TIMELINE

  1. Overall: 40 days

  2. Planning: 10 days

  3. Plant Visit: 2 days

  4. Synthesis: 7 days

  5. User Journey: 20 days

  6. Presentation: 1 day

Research UX: Projects

PROBLEM

In the midst of initiating this project aimed at understanding the utilization patterns of the Connected Worker Platform (CWP) tool among operators within a manufacturing plant, our team encountered significant challenges in achieving alignment between the design, research and product management stakeholders. The genesis of the project stemmed from a desire to gain insights into the operational dynamics of the CWP tool in use. However, the journey to define the scope and objectives of our research investigation proved to be arduous.

The crux of the issue lay in the ambiguity surrounding the focus of our research efforts. We grappled with identifying the precise areas warranting investigation, resulting in a prolonged period of uncertainty and indecision. This lack of clarity not only impeded progress but also exacerbated the communication gap between the UX research team and the product managers.

Furthermore, the disconnect between the expectations of UX research deliverables and the requisites outlined by the product managers for usability testing compounded the challenges. This misalignment hindered our ability to delineate a cohesive research strategy and establish mutual understanding regarding the intended outcomes of our efforts.

Consequently, the absence of a clear and shared vision impeded the advancement of the project, impelling us to navigate through a labyrinth of divergent perspectives and objectives. Addressing these hurdles is imperative to foster synergy among stakeholders, streamline the research process, and ultimately, deliver actionable insights to enhance the usability and efficacy of the software tool for operators within the plant environment.

SOLUTION

To address the challenges stemming from the ambiguity surrounding the project's objectives and scope, a collaborative solution was proposed to streamline communication and facilitate a shared understanding among all stakeholders. Recognizing the need for a structured approach to uncovering insights into the utilization patterns of the software tool by plant operators, the solution centered on the creation of a comprehensive user journey.

The user journey serves as a navigational map, delineating the step-by-step process that operators undertake while interacting with the CWP software tool within the plant environment. By mapping out this journey, we aim to gain deeper insights into the pain points, challenges, and opportunities encountered by users throughout their interaction with the tool.

This approach not only provides clarity and direction to the research efforts but also fosters alignment between the design, UX research, and product management teams. By collectively defining and visualizing the user journey, stakeholders can collaboratively identify key touch points, areas of improvement, and opportunities for innovation.

Furthermore, the user journey serves as a unifying framework for conducting subsequent research activities, such as usability testing and user interviews. It ensures that research efforts are guided by a shared understanding of the user's experience, thereby facilitating more targeted and impactful insights.

In summary, the creation of a user journey represents a pivotal solution to the challenges encountered in defining the project's objectives and scope. By providing a structured framework for understanding the user experience, this approach enables stakeholders to align their efforts, prioritize areas for investigation, and ultimately, deliver actionable insights to enhance the usability and effectiveness of the software tool for plant operators.

Research UX: List
Research UX: Welcome

PRODUCT BACKGROUND

The absence of a clear and well-defined product statement represented a critical gap in the project's foundation, contributing to significant miscommunication and confusion regarding the intended objectives and outcomes. Throughout this project's lifecycle, stakeholders found themselves grappling with ambiguity and uncertainty, unsure of the precise expectations and deliverables sought from the research initiative.

The lack of a cohesive product statement meant that there was no unified vision or guiding framework to align stakeholders' efforts. As a result, divergent interpretations and expectations emerged, leading to miscommunication about what the product team actually desired from the project. While stakeholders used terms such as "usability testing" to describe the research activities, there was a fundamental misunderstanding of the breadth and depth of research required to address the underlying challenges throughout CWP.

This miscommunication manifested in various forms, including conflicting priorities, disjointed research methodologies, and mismatched expectations regarding the outcomes of the project. Without a clear product statement to serve as a reference point, stakeholders operated in silos, each pursuing their own interpretation of the project's objectives.

Furthermore, the absence of a product statement hindered the establishment of a shared understanding of the project's scope, goals, and success criteria. This lack of clarity impeded collaboration and decision-making, leading to inefficiencies and suboptimal outcomes.

Research UX: Files
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UX RESEARCH BACKGROUND

These are some of the main types of user research methods we used throughout this project, each offering unique insights into user behavior and preferences.

USABILITY TESTING

Direct observation of users interacting with a product or system to identify usability issues and gather feedback on user experience.

USER INTERVIEWS

In-depth conversations with users to understand their needs, preferences, behaviors, and pain points.

SURVEYS

Collection of structured feedback from a large group of users to gather quantitative data on user demographics, satisfaction, and preferences.

FIELD STUDIES

Observation of users in their natural environment to gain insights into their context, behaviors, and workflows.

CARD SORTING

A method where users organize content or features into categories to inform the information architecture of a product.

PROTOTYPE TESTING

Evaluation of early-stage prototypes or mockups to gather feedback on design concepts and functionality.

CONTEXTUAL INQUIRY

Combination of observation and interview techniques to understand how users interact with a product or system within their real-world context.

A/B TESTING

Comparison of two or more versions of a product or feature to determine which performs better in terms of user engagement, conversion rates.

Research UX: Schedule
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Research UX: Image

PLANNING

PLANNING

The planning stage of the project was marked by significant challenges and hurdles due to the absence of a clear foundation and undefined project requirements. The lack of clarity created a turbulent environment, where stakeholders grappled with ambiguity and struggled to establish a cohesive direction for the research initiative. Several factors contributed to the difficulties encountered during this phase.

UNCLEAR OBJECTIVES

One of the primary challenges was the absence of clearly defined project objectives. Without a clear understanding of the desired outcomes and success criteria, stakeholders found it challenging to outline a roadmap for the research activities. This lack of clarity led to confusion and indecision, hindering progress during the planning stage.

AMBIGUOUS SCOPE

In addition to unclear objectives, the scope of the project was ambiguous, further complicating the planning process. Stakeholders had differing interpretations of the project scope, leading to conflicting expectations and priorities. This ambiguity made it difficult to determine which research methodologies and activities were most appropriate for achieving the project's goals.

MISCOMMUNICATION

Communication breakdowns between teams exacerbated the challenges faced during the planning stage. There was a lack of alignment between Product and User Research teams, with differing perspectives on the project requirements and deliverables. This miscommunication hindered collaboration and coordination, impeding progress towards establishing a clear plan for the research initiative.

UNDEFINED REQUIREMENTS

Another significant obstacle was the absence of clearly defined project requirements. Without a clear understanding of the stakeholders' needs and expectations, it was challenging to identify the necessary research activities and documentation. This ambiguity left stakeholders feeling uncertain about the direction of the project and contributed to delays in the planning process.

CHALLENGES

Despite these challenges, the team persevered through the planning stage, working diligently to overcome obstacles and establish a more solid foundation for the research initiative. Through iterative discussions, feedback sessions, and collaborative efforts, stakeholders gradually clarified objectives, defined project scope, and outlined requirements. While the planning stage was not smooth, it served as a valuable learning experience, highlighting the importance of clear communication, alignment, and stakeholder engagement in guiding research initiatives towards success.

In hindsight, the importance of a well-articulated product statement cannot be overstated. It serves as a foundational document that aligns stakeholders, clarifies expectations, and provides a roadmap for achieving the desired outcomes. Moving forward, it is imperative that the project team collaboratively develop a comprehensive product statement that clearly articulates the objectives, scope, and expectations of the research initiative. This will foster alignment, mitigate miscommunication, and enable the project team to effectively address the challenges at hand, ultimately delivering value to the product and its end-users.

Research UX: Projects
Research UX: Welcome

ONSITE VISIT

The on-site visit to the Lowville Philadelphia Cream Cheese manufacturing plant provided a valuable opportunity to gain firsthand insights into the operational dynamics and user experiences surrounding the utilization of the CWP software tool. During this visit, several key activities were conducted to gather qualitative data and contextualize the user research efforts:

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Users Met

Engaging directly with the plant operators who interact with the software tool on a daily basis was a primary focus of the visit. Through one-on-one interviews and group discussions, we had the opportunity to understand their workflows, challenges, and needs firsthand. These interactions facilitated rapport-building and enabled us to gain deep insights into the user perspective.

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Project Stakeholders Met

In addition to users, meetings were held with various stakeholders involved in the software tool's implementation and support. This included maintenance workers, CI Lead, CI Manager, and the Plant CWP Admin, all who provided valuable perspectives on the tool's functionality, integration with existing systems, and organizational goals.

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Main Pain Points Identified

Through conversations with users and stakeholders, we probed to identify pain points and areas of friction in the current workflow and software usage. These discussions revealed issues such as cumbersome data entry processes, lack of integration with other tools, and difficulties in accessing critical information.

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Times Observing Pain Points in Action

Beyond discussions, the on-site visit afforded the opportunity to witness pain points and challenges manifest in real-time. By observing operators navigate the software tool during their regular tasks, we gained deeper insights into the specific usability issues and workflow bottlenecks they encountered.

Overall, the on-site visit to the Lowville Philadelphia Cream Cheese plant served as a pivotal step in the user research process, providing rich qualitative data and contextual understanding essential for informing subsequent research activities and driving meaningful improvements to the software tool.

Research UX: Infographics
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Research UX: Image

RESEARCH FINDINGS SYNTHESIS

After the completion of data collection through various research activities such as interviews, observations, and surveys, the focus shifted to synthesizing the gathered research findings. This crucial phase involved organizing, analyzing, and interpreting the collected data to distill meaningful insights and identify patterns and themes. The Research Findings Synthesis section outlines the key steps and considerations involved in this process

ORGANIZATION AND CATEGORIZATION

The first step in synthesizing research findings was to organize and categorize the findings into meaningful clusters or themes. This involved grouping related insights together based on similarities in content or context, thereby facilitating a structured approach to synthesis.

DATA ANALYSIS

Once the organization and categorization was complete, the next step was to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the collected data. This involved reviewing interview transcripts, observational notes, survey responses, and any other relevant data sources to identify common themes, recurring patterns, and noteworthy insights.

IDENTIFICATION OF KEY INSIGHTS

With the data organized into thematic clusters, the focus shifted to identifying key insights or observations that emerged from the analysis. These insights represent the core findings of the research and provide valuable information about user needs, behaviors, pain points, and opportunities for improvement.

CROSS-REFERENCING AND VALIDATION

To ensure the validity and reliability of the synthesized findings, cross-referencing and validation were conducted. This involved comparing findings across different data sources and research activities to corroborate insights and identify any discrepancies or inconsistencies that required further investigation.

INSIGHT SYNTHESIS

This synthesis phase involves combining qualitative and quantitative data, organizing it into meaningful clusters, and identifying overarching insights that inform decision-making and drive actionable recommendations. By combining data from various sources, patterns emerge, informing decision-making for enhancing the user experience.

DOCUMENTATION AND REPORTING

Finally, the synthesized research findings were documented and reported in a clear and concise manner. This typically involved creating a research synthesis report or presentation that outlined the key insights, supported by relevant quotes, anecdotes, or data visualizations to illustrate key points effectively.

The Research Findings Synthesis section serves as a critical juncture in the research process, where raw data is transformed into actionable insights that inform decision-making and drive product improvements. By following a systematic approach to data analysis, organization, and interpretation, stakeholders can gain a deeper understanding of user needs and behaviors, paving the way for more informed and user-centric design decisions.

Research UX: Projects
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Research UX: Image

USER JOURNEY DEVELOPMENT

The User Journey Development is the process of creating a comprehensive user journey map based on the synthesized research findings. This visual representation provides a holistic view of the user experience, mapping out the steps and touchpoints that users encounter while interacting with the product or service.

DATA INTEGRATION

The first step in user journey development is integrating the synthesized research findings into the mapping process. This involves leveraging the insights and observations gathered from various research activities to inform the creation of the user journey map.

IDENTIFYING USER TOUCHPOINTS

Once the research findings are integrated, the focus shifts to identifying the key touchpoints that users encounter throughout their journey. This includes both digital and physical interactions with the product or service, as well as any relevant contextual factors or external influences.

MAPPING USER STEPS

With touchpoints identified, the next step is to map out the sequence of user steps or actions that occur at each touchpoint. This involves delineating the user's journey from initial awareness or discovery through to conversion, usage, and potentially advocacy or retention.

CAPTURING USER EMOTIONS AND PAIN POINTS

In addition to mapping out user steps, the user journey also captures the emotional states and pain points experienced by users at each touchpoint. This provides valuable insights into the user experience, highlighting moments of delight, frustration, confusion, or satisfaction.

VISUAL REPRESENTATION

Once the user journey is mapped out, it is visualized using appropriate graphical elements such as flowcharts, timelines, or diagrams. This visual representation makes the user journey more accessible and comprehensible to stakeholders, facilitating communication and decision-making.

DOCUMENTATION AND COMMUNICATION

Finally, the user journey map is documented and communicated to stakeholders through reports, presentations, or workshops. This facilitates shared understanding and alignment among cross-functional teams, guiding design decisions and prioritization efforts.

User Journey Development serves as a valuable tool for gaining insights into the user experience and identifying opportunities for improvement. By mapping out the user journey, stakeholders can better understand user needs, behaviors, and pain points, informing the design and development of more user-centric products and services.

Research UX: Projects
Research UX: Welcome
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MAPPING THE USER JOURNEY

This final version of the User Journey Map represents a culmination of research insights and design efforts, providing a comprehensive visualization of the user experience. This artifact serves as a guiding roadmap, illustrating the user's interactions, emotions, and pain points throughout their journey with the product or service. By synthesizing research findings into a tangible visual representation, stakeholders gain a holistic understanding of the user's perspective, enabling informed decision-making and targeted improvements. The Journey Map not only highlights areas for enhancement but also fosters empathy and alignment across cross-functional teams, driving a unified focus on delivering a seamless and satisfying user experience.

Research UX: Welcome

FUTURE SCALABILITY

Scaling a user research framework requires careful attention to several key factors:

STANDARDIZATION

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TRAINING AND CAPABILITY BUILDING

Comprehensive training programs are essential to equip team members with the necessary skills for effective user research. This includes training on research methodologies, interview techniques, data analysis, and interpretation. Investing in building research capabilities throughout the organization is critical for successful scaling.

RESOURCE ALLOCATION

Adequate allocation of resources, including budget, time, and personnel, is crucial for scaling the user research framework. This may involve hiring dedicated researchers, investing in research tools and technology, and establishing dedicated research spaces or labs. Sufficient resources ensure that teams have the support they need to conduct thorough research at scale.

TECHNOLOGY AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Implementing scalable tools and infrastructure is necessary to support the collection, analysis, and dissemination of research findings. This includes research management platforms, data visualization tools, and collaboration software. Choosing the right technology solutions that can accommodate growing research needs is essential for effective scaling.

COLLABORATION AND COMMUNICATION

Fostering a culture of collaboration, communication, and knowledge sharing is crucial for successful scaling. Encourage cross-functional collaboration between teams and departments to integrate research insights into decision-making processes effectively. Clear communication channels facilitate the sharing of research findings, best practices, and lessons learned, enabling teams to leverage each other's expertise and avoid duplicating efforts.

KNOWLEDGE SHARING

Establishing platforms and practices for sharing research insights, best practices, and lessons learned fosters knowledge exchange across teams, driving better product outcomes and user experiences. Regular knowledge sharing sessions encourage continuous learning and innovation, fostering a dynamic environment where teams collectively contribute to improving research methodologies and outcomes.

By focusing on these key areas, organizations can successfully scale their user research framework to support larger projects, drive better product outcomes, and deliver superior user experiences.

Research UX: Projects

CONCLUSION

Throughout this journey, we embarked on a mission to understand the user experience of the CWP software tool through Plant Discovery research, aiming to enhance usability and satisfaction. We encountered challenges but found solutions by aligning Product and User Research objectives. Thorough preparation and collaborative planning paved the way for successful data collection, synthesis, and the development of a comprehensive user journey. As we conclude, we recognize the potential for future scalability and ongoing improvement, ensuring the CWP software tool meets user needs effectively. This journey has underscored the importance of collaboration, perseverance, and user-centric design in driving product innovation and success.

In closing, this journey has been a testament to the power of collaboration, perseverance, and user-centric design principles. By navigating through challenges and leveraging insights gained, we have laid a foundation for ongoing innovation and enhancement, ensuring that the CWP software tool continues to meet the evolving needs of its users.

Research UX: Text
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Research UX: Welcome
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