I worked at Lexmark from 2015-2019. During 2018, Lexmark wanted to create a compact and lower cost printer for small and medium businesses (S&MB) and called it the GO Line. I was one of the main UX designers that handled this big project.
Lexmark International creates innovative imaging solutions and technologies that help customers worldwide print, secure and manage information with ease, efficiency and unmatched value.
Role, Responsibilities, and Teammates
As part of a UX team, I helped out on UX Research and was responsible for the Interaction Design. I collaborated frequently with my UX team, Product Owner, Hardware Engineers, Firmware Developers, and the QA team.
Define the interaction and design the user interface of a compact touchscreen panel that would enable S&MB owners to do a copy, scan, and print job easily.
The process was iterative and merges within discovery, research, design, and validation.
Based on the collaboration with different stakeholders and the requirements gathered, the following problems need to be addressed by the UX team:
• The printer has a small 2.8" touchscreen panel.
• The printer uses a resistive touchscreen panel.
• The printer has limited memory capacity.
Based on the problems, the following Research Questions were formulated:
• How do people use small touchscreen panels on printers?
• What's the experience of using a resistive touchscreen panel?
• What features are essential for a limited memory printer?
In order to answer the research questions, the following UX Research Methods were conducted:
• Competitive Analysis and Assessment
• Persona Creation
• Journey Mapping
• User Surveys
Competitive Analysis and Assessment
We looked at competitor products within the market segment to see trends and advantages. This also became an early benchmark for how we use the small touchscreen printer.
Persona and Journey Map
This method showed that user's pain points happens when an unclear interface and a small press area causes a printer error. In the end, the user becomes frustrated due to the time and effort that is wasted trying to do a simple task.
Answers to the Research Questions
How do people use small touchscreen panels on printers?
Users use small touchscreen printers to initiate tasks that require minimal steps. Furthermore, most printers use 'Presets' for quick setting changes.
What's the experience of using a resistive touchscreen panel?
Users press harder on resistive touchscreens and errors happen when interacting with smaller UI elements. Bigger touch-points (15-20 mm) and wider margins (2 mm) with enough horizontal area are effective when designing for touchscreens.
What features are essential for a limited memory printer?
Survey participants frequently use Color and B/W Copy, ID Copy, Scan to Email, and USB printing. To save on the printers memory, other features can be moved to a Web Server or app. There is a growing need to print files and photos from smartphones and cloud storage apps.
The following design solutions were proposed based on the insights gathered:
Go big when designing for small
Create adequate touch areas ( >10mm ) and have enough vertical space to aid users for correct presses. Eliminating errors in presses helps users finish their tasks quickly and simplifies the overall experience.
Priority leads to simplicity
Simplify the UI by showing only the most important and frequently used features first. Familiar features also enhances understandability and makes the product more intuitive.
Move what can be removed
Move other features to the smartphone or computer. This saves printer memory usage and leverages the smartphone for complex interactions. Support direct printing from smartphone and cloud storage apps.
Preset the experience
Use global actions and support presets (Shortcuts) so users don't need to recreate or change many settings.
It was important to get the measurements for the press areas first and create a basic layout.
Version 1 focused on showing the important functions first and supporting quick actions which were placed in the Global Actions bar.
Further into the project, the hardware team confirmed that they can support hard buttons. This gave the screen additional vertical space as the Global Actions were moved outside. The design changed to support a list view because increasing the horizontal space lessened error presses, gave more room for translated words, and is consistent when used in other features such as Scan to Email and USB Print.
Middle into the project, the hardware team switched to a capacitive touchscreen after finalizing the costs and viability. This enabled the use of swipe gestures, eliminating the need for the Up/Down arrows. Due to hardware changes, the Global Actions was moved to the right side and can only support 3 main buttons. The Shortcuts button was placed back to the UI screen.
The following validation where done during the whole UX Design process:
This allowed quick feedback for simple interactions and elements in the UI.
When the firmware and hardware were stable, a lab-based Usability Testing was done to check the experience of the touchscreen interaction. We iterated the design based on insights gathered from the testing.
Outcome and Lessons
The product has passed all the needed functional and viability test and is now out in the market. During this process, the UX team have been consulted and our decisions were listened by different stakeholders and top management. This shows the growing value of UX in the company.
The next step is getting customer feedback and iterating for the next firmware version. I'm not connected with Lexmark but will check how the product is doing in the market. Overall, this work was a great experience and I will use what Ive learned in this project for future products I will be working on.
Empathy is the key
Putting myself in the users perspective allowed me to understand the problem better.
Research and documentation go hand in hand
Research made decisions easier, while documentations made those decisions visible to the stakeholders.
Soft skills are design skills
Collaboration with different stakeholders enabled me to communicate the value of design. I learned to listen intently, tell stories, push for decisions, and compromise when needed in order to ship the product.
Trust your guts, but iterate based on evidence
I learned to be objective and set aside biases when validating my designs, which is hard but important as a designer.