Building a design tool for a laser cutter from scratch.
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.
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.
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.
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.