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Printer Image Quality Troubleshoot App

 

Printer Image Quality Troubleshoot App

Demonstration of computer vision technology in development to pitch to potential customers

 

 

The Basics

 

 

Company

Palo Alto Research Center

Client

Xerox

Time

2 Weeks

Role

Designer

 
 

 

THE BACKGROUND

The maintenance team at Xerox decided to build an app for the printer that empowers user to self-diagnose image quality issues (streaks, ink smears, etc.) and troubleshoot themselves to reduce the expense of sending field technicians for repairs. I was the only designer supporting and advocating for design with the development team to improve the user experience for the app, which I challenged myself to achieve in these following ways:

  1. Validate the need and position of the app

  2. Design easy-to-use flow to guide users to successfully troubleshoot

  3. Get the engineers on-board with design changes

 
 

 

HeRE’S WHAT WENT DOWN

DESIGN CHALLENGE 1: Validate the need and position of the app

I interviewed 5 people within PARC with different roles and technical familiarity for the first round of interview about their troubleshooting experience. We identified we should make this a tool for customer support agents to gain better problem insights to better assist remotely, while help user troubleshoot for simple issues. The discoverability of the app on the printer is pretty low so having the agent to introduce the tool is our quick fix to the problem. Using this app interface also frees up the user being desk-bounded to the phone while trying to fix the printer, allowing higher chance and more successful self-repair and better experience.

Providing clear guidance improves people’s confidence level and expectation of time investment to approach repairing the printer themselves. We learned most users don’t feel confident interacting with the printer and would rather have someone else to fix the problem. However, when asked about willingness to self-repair, if provided guidance on identifying problem and how to solve the problem, many are willing to fix it themselves.

printer-persona.png

With the people I spoke to, I created personas representing varying types of users with different printer uses in a common workplace with their printer use, motivations and behaviors differentiating them.

DESIGN Challenge #2: Design easy-to-use flow to guide users to successfully troubleshoot

I conducted 5 user testing and interviews with persona we are pursuing using variations of the workflow and features mockups, as well as the initial prototype developed to iterate on the flow and representation of information.

Users were given problematic prints to match to print issues defined in the knowledge base represented graphically and textually to identify accuracy.

Users were given problematic prints to match to print issues defined in the knowledge base represented graphically and textually to identify accuracy.

One important part of the workflow is to be able to understand the print problem and the image recognition software needs user input to accurately diagnose the print problem and the cause of it. Realizing that everyone had a different way of describing their image quality problem is a key problem, I tested textual and graphical representation as aid and decided to implement UI components that allows graphical elements to support users to indicate what problem they are seeing. While Xerox has a knowledge base of print quality issues, the definition often don’t match a user’s mindset. We found that people resonated a lot more and are more successful in identifying correct problems when having visuals to compare their problem prints with the problem examples.

A representation of the user journey and the dialog between a user and support that influenced the workflow.

A representation of the user journey and the dialog between a user and support that influenced the workflow.

Helping someone through their problem is a dialog not instructions. In testing out the workflow using both mockups and prototype, we noticed the language of the header sets the tone of the support. Different to other apps on the printer with straight forward output, we made the language for this app (while adhering to the style guide) to have a little more human touch and more conversational to show more empathy and empowerment as you would expect from customer service dealing with an emotional customer. Rather than “Select Problem” we have “Select the problems you see on your print.” Our interviewees have expressed the workflow to be quite intuitive and helpful compared to having to call and schedule a technician visit so they can just fix the simple problems themselves right away.

An exploration on different workflows and copy presented during user interview to iterate the design.

An exploration on different workflows and copy presented during user interview to iterate the design.

We also used different colored background to subtly hint different types of interactions. When a user is on a screen with blue background it means the step involves the user to do certain action with the printer such as scanning or printing.

DESIGN CHALLENGE #3: Get the engineers on-board with NEW designs

I brought the engineers to user interviews to help them see the importance of changing language and workflow. When I got onboard to the project the engineer has already modified another app and made a version of the app. By asking them to take a step back and I mocking up variations of the workflow and tested with users, we ended up with a combined and iterated workflow that is more intuitive. As the developers received the first hand feedback from the interviews, they were on the same line with the changes we should redesign and implement. I also learned to be more explicit with action words on buttons, something the developer and I had disagreement on before testing, and I gladly iterated after the interviews.

 
 

 

AT the end

I worked with the developers on the design and language changes and the app launched into the app store for customers and support channels to use as a tool. I picked my battles to prioritize time on creating thorough wireframes that demonstrate the workflows and information and necessary visual assets.

 
 

 

SOME THINGS TO IMPROVE

  1. Make allies with engineers and PMs to become design advocate, and know when to push back when needed.

  2. Be involved with strategy and suggest quick user interviews to validate the needs and set directions of this app as early as possible. I was not able to influence the business decision in creating this app, however I helped shape the use of the app to become more useful for both types of users, the printer user and the customer service agent.