Additive manufacturing is a budding industry, yet like any manufacturing process, one key goal for those who run operations is to get the most out of their equipment.
Dashboard applications gather and store data points from sensors, and then use simple analytic calculations and KPI visualizations to provide users visibility into the performance of a plant floor full of large laser 3D printers.
User research
I got the fortunate opportunity to visit an additive manufacturing facility in Ohio where aircraft engines parts are manufactured using advanced 3D printing technologies. I couldn’t resist the photo-op, a selfie with a giant aircraft engine in the background.
I got to witness the manufacturing process, and most importantly talk to real users in their contextual environments. This gave me first-hand anecdotal data that helped me identify product opportunities.
Product strategy
I mapped out roles and user tasks with a simple journey map which was a powerful tool to help identify product opportunities and key personas.
Personas
Mobile
One key insight that I gathered during the site visit is that Operators are often “on call”, so they want to monitor printer status remotely. This insight led to a few mobile design concepts.

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