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Volume 4 | June 2022


Human-Centered. Solutions Driven.

SMART SOLUTIONS: Designing Experiences with the Customer in Mind

By Kyle Palframan

 Designing Experiences HCD

Have you seen the recent influx of articles showcasing success with implementing new technology experiences, specifically in Augmented or Virtual Reality? Why is everyone talking about it? It’s simple: Reduced costs of hardware and increased variety of software have contributed to making Extended Reality (XR) deployments in manufacturing more accessible than they have ever been before.

We are actively seeing a shift towards the use of these technologies for applications in training, product validation, and process validation. Companies seeing success started their journey through the facilitation and participation in XR program deployments, something we offer our clients more and more regularly now. As experts in project management, our project success lies in helping you understand which key stakeholders need to provide input at specific stages of the project to maximize your chances of success. 

It is important when deciding to implement some new technology to balance both stakeholder needs, and end users’ capabilities throughout the process. The following questions are key in shaping the deployment: 

  • What specific pain points are you hoping to solve through the use of XR?
  • Who is the target audience for the experience?
  • What does the target demographic look like, and by virtue, what may be their perceptions towards new technology?

The better you understand your stakeholders and your end-users, the more effectively you can customize your deployment and improve your chances of success. Our experience in diverse manufacturing and proven project management process help us understand how to answer these questions and produce results. 

In considering a technology-focused deployment, it is highly critical to understand the cognitive demands which may be imposed on your audience by that experience. ‘Information overload’ is one term which may be used to describe poorly developed user experiences. The sensory stimulation involved by asking a user to don a headset, wield controllers, and navigate a digital world can be significant. 

There are a number of ways to account for and address cognitive overload, and it involves starting with the human: 

  • Start small – identify a representative target group who is willing to provide early feedback
  • Work in stages – consider an experience that ‘graduates’ users from one level of ‘difficulty’ to the next, perhaps starting with a ‘view-only’ world, before advancing to an interactive experience
  • Fail fast – what works for one user may not work for the next, it’s important to deploy quickly and modify accordingly to continuously improve 

Once the target demographic, key stakeholders, and scope of the technology deployment is well understood, you need a plan to quantify success. The level of success can be defined through both subjective and objective metrics. You will need to identify processes most likely to yield results, produce an effective experience which effectively engages your users, and help to quantify how significantly this project will affect operations. 

We are finding that now, more than ever, the success of a technological program relies heavily on the end user’s willingness to adopt and use the technology, more-so than the capabilities of the hardware and software itself. It is important to approach technology deployments strategically and consider the human throughout the process. Our project lens is always human centered first, in the end it always yields better results.