2024

Toolit

Empowering Robotics education with streamlined inventory management. 

In this twelve-week-long project, I worked as a Product Designer for Toolit, a web platform designed to streamline inventory management for robotics instructors.

Toolit's specialized inventory management allows robotics instructors and educators to seamlessly organize their tools, machines, projects, and teams. The platform not only simplifies the inventory process but also enhances valuable teaching and project time by saving time on inventory management.

 

Role

Product Designer

User Research, Ideation Concept Development, UI and Interaction Design, Prototyping, User Testing

I played a key role in the UX research and design process. This involved collaborating closely with a cross-functional team of four designers, three developers, and key stakeholders.


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Challenge

Many schools have old ways of managing their supplies, like verbal communication instead of writing things down or using non-automated spreadsheets. This makes instructors feel unnecessary stress and can make it hard to perform tasks efficiently. 

 

User Research

We conducted in-depth interviews with both students and robotics instructors and a field research at a Secondary School in West Vancouver. Our primary objectives were to explore into the nuances of their experiences and perspectives within the robotics club context. Specifically, we aimed to:

  • Identify the specific needs of both students and robotics instructors within the context of the robotics club
  • Gain insights into the daily tasks and responsibilities carried out by students and instructors involved in the robotics club
  • Identify areas within the workflow of students and instructors where improvements could be made
  • Explore existing solutions or tools that have positively impacted how students and instructors collaborate and work within the robotics club setting

 

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User Persona

Based on the valuable insights from interviews and adding demographic data of our participants, we were able to create a robust persona. This user profile serves as a pillar as we navigate towards a solution for our challenge.

The main persona is Mark Thompson, a 55-year-old Mechanical Engineer with over three decades of experience in the field. Currently serving as a robotics instructor at a Middle School in Canada, Mark brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role. In his daily responsibilities, Mark relies on his extensive background in engineering to guide students through the intricacies of robotics education. Mark's persona serves as a cornerstone in our process to comprehend the user experience, offering valuable insights into the needs and challenges faced by robotics instructors like him.

 

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Ideation and Design

Following the development of our persona, our journey into ideation and design began. We mapped out the information architecture and user flows. Then, we started working on the initial wireframes for the core user flows. After that, we designed mid-fidelity prototypes to test the core functionality with users, collecting valuable insights for the iteration of the design. Feedback from these tests helped us refine the prototype and user flow before proceeding to create higher-fidelity mockups.

 

Innitial Sketches

The Solution

Toolit addresses the challenges faced by robotics educators and instructors in efficiently tracking and organizing inventory across teams and projects. Toolit minimizes the risk of inventory shortages, enhances productivity, and prevents project delays resulting from miscommunication.

 

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Usability Testing

Throughout the development phases of Toolit, we held numerous testing sessions to make sure that our product was usable and well-received. Some of these sessions involved assessing the proof of concept by guiding users through different prototypes, while others concentrated on specific task flows for a better understanding of the user's mental models. 

Participants were tasked with specific app-related activities and their interactions were observed and recorded, along with feedback collected through both real-time observations and post-test inquiries. The analysis of gathered data will focus on identifying usability issues and user satisfaction levels, making room for informed recommendations to refine the system and better meet the needs of the users. Our goals with these usability tests were:

  • Understand how users behave how they enter, manage and store data for their teams, projects and inventory
  • Discover what users expect in completing tasks within the system to recognize which items they most need or prefer to have
  • Identify which areas may cause confusion or disruption in the user’s flow to uncover better solutions based on their feedback and unmet needs 

 

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What I've  Learned

Throughout this project, I learned valuable lessons about not just building a product, but also understanding and empathizing with the people who would eventually use it. Here are some key insights I gained:

  • Empathy: This project taught me the importance of empathy in design. Understanding users on a deeper level – their needs, frustrations, and aspirations – shaped not only the design direction but also created a sense of connection between us and the people we were designing for.
  • Humility: Usability testing helped me by revealing insights that challenged our assumptions. It taught me the importance of being open-minded and receptive to feedback, even when it contradicted our initial beliefs.

In essence, this project was a journey of personal growth, empathy, and human connection, teaching me that great design is about what feels right for the people we design for. I'm happy that we achieved all of our goals in such a short amount of time, and I could experience working in a very fast-paced, collaborative, and diverse environment. All of that made me realize how important communication and leadership skills are.

 

 

 

Project Team

Designers: Trish Clemente, Tia Le Santo, Anderson Marques, Naoya Sasaki

Developers: Emre Aydin, Beck Baral,  Masahiro Kanamaru

 

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