7 November 2022 Luca Martorano

Forel: improving the man-machine interface together with manufacturers and end users

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Our research project to improve the user experience of the man-machine interface together with the leaders in the production of solutions for glass processing and their customers.

 

30,000 square meters of company space, 30 partners worldwide and a presence of its machinery in over 70 countries: these are the numbers of Forel, an Italian industrial excellence, leader in the production of solutions for glass processing.

It is by their side that we have been working for several years and it is with them that, in the last month, we have designed and carried out an extraordinary project to add value to the experience of using their machinery, collecting and analyzing the experiences of the people who produce and who will use them, Forel’s final customers.

Co-designing the man-machine interface: a new approach for the glass industry

In the last month we have been guests several times within Forel, with the aim of analyzing the operation of a glass processing line and, specifically, observing the human-interface-machine interaction as a whole.

In order to know the real experience of the insiders and to be able to understand what could have been their problems or potential usability barriers, we have defined a design flow that, in the name of the approach that has always distinguished TSW, was based on listening to people.

Specifically, we defined two different moments of listening and analyzing the experience:

  • Step 1: analysis of the experience of the processing line
    In this first moment, we dedicated ourselves to observing Forel personnel during the testing of the line. This phase allowed us to go beyond theory and see the approach of employees with such a complex machinery at an extremely practical level. In addition to their approach, it was possible to understand the working methods of the machine in a generic line and begin to reflect on what could have been the main barriers encountered by the Forel customer.
  • Step 2: analysis of the training of new employees
    This second moment was instead used to observe the moment of formation of the new users of the line and, subsequently, to investigate their interactions with it. The goal, therefore, was to try to understand how the line was perceived and the interactions with its digital part in order to improve and simplify the final experience.

Experience as a source of information and value for the company

This two-stage listening mode, tested for the first time on this project, was an opportunity to observe the different parts of the process that bring a product from the development and testing stages to its final use by the customer.

Observing the entire process from different perspectives, interacting with operators, employees, area managers and managers allowed us to better understand the difficulties of new users and to develop strategies, then suggested to Forel, to optimize the line and allow operators to interface with the machine in the simplest, most direct and efficient way possible.

Having given importance to every part of the process but above all having involved the people who are part of it, in the design or final use phase, has allowed us to help a leading company in the sector to introduce an approach that increases in the company the value of what the final customer perceives and which, given its scientific validity, can be used in many other future projects.

An approach, that of TSW and which today is also part of Forel’s planning, which is a guarantee of an experience of real quality, created together with those who live it or will live it in the future.

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