Building a design tool for a laser cutter from scratch.

 

Company

Glowforge

Project

Saved Settings

Skills

Interaction Design
Prototyping

 

Laser settings before

 

Symbol Library

I’ve come to value the process of taking inventory of a system. This was something I completed in my first few months in order to get acquainted with the software, which also helped me gain an understanding of the varying user scenarios. Fast forward several months to this project: this familiarity allowed me to move quickly to conceptualize how users might save laser settings for custom materials.

 
 

Customer Pain Points

Our Forum had a number of complaints about the lack of a saved materials/settings feature, which is something they’re accustomed to with other maker tools. One owner went as far as building a Chrome Extension.

My biggest pain point with the Forge is not being able to save custom settings.

Chrome Extension

 

User Scenario Mapping

We analyzed a handful of sessions to better understand the steps a user takes and the time spent on each. In the example below, you’ll see that the user spent more than 10 minutes manipulating and editing their design.

 
 

Explorations

While these concepts weren’t directly incorporated into the saved settings design, they influenced the design direction with the goal of aligning with a long-term product vision. This of course is one advantage to being the only designer: you have the awareness of the broader picture and can deliver solutions that might just kill two birds with one stone.

exploration1.png
exploration3.png
exploration4.png
 

User Flows

 

MVP

saved_settings.png
 

Learnings

We weren’t able to do much beyond testing with colleagues, but in rolling the feature out, I’ve had the opportunity to observe people use it who are less proficient. Since then I’ve learned:

  • One of our core assumption was that users would use a Glowforge preset as a launchpad for their custom setting. There was so much emphasis on this that I didn’t give the empty state any love.

  • The design lacks proper hinting in one scenario and results in some confusion.