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Transforming the Maker Movement

Transforming MakerNet

Creating a seamless experience to empower users

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“Your solution made me understand why you need UX designers in every organization.”

-Nathan Parker, makernet CEO



Teamwork

  • Heuristic Evaluation

  • Competitive and comparative analysis

  • Contextual inquiry

  • User interviews

  • Data synthesis

 

My role

  • Design strategy

  • Iterative prototyping

  • Usability testing

  • UI design

 

The Problem

A fragmented user experience

MakerNet is a scheduling and management tool for people who make things by hand and people who manage workspaces.

Right now, each physical workspace has it’s own separate version of their product. Someone who wanted to use two machines in two different physical locations would need to create a separate Makernet account for each of those locations. This poses logistical challenges for users and prevents communication and collaboration by keeping makers tied to one physical workspace.

 
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The current product demo homepage

 

The Solution

A one-stop shop

We designed a unified version of the product that will allow you to search and sign up for training, rent space and equipment anywhere, and keep track of all of your reservations in one place.

Users are no longer stuck in one physical location or juggling multiple accounts at multiple locations. They can easily move from one space to another while keeping track of all reservations in one place.

 

Research

Understanding users

The DIY mentality

We interviewed users of the current product and potential users who identify as part of the maker movement, then synthesized that data through affinity mapping to look for patterns and trends.

Results: We found that what unites all of MakerNet’s different user groups is the desire and motivation to create tangible things, from the ordinary (furniture) to the bizarre (art cars that look like bees). We wanted to make it as easy as possible for our users to create whatever kind of project they want, whether it’s refinishing furniture or building an art car.

user interview

affinity mapping: process

Affinity mapping: insights

 

Prioritizing users and tasks

For the scope of this three-week design sprint, we choose to narrow our focus to student makers. We wanted to create the best experience possible for the largest number of users, with the hope that this user group would then act as ambassadors for the MakerNet brand.

 

simplifying the user flow

Eliminate obstacles

We focused on a new student user flow as a way to demonstrate how the site integration would eliminate pain points and make it easier for users to accomplish their tasks.

On the old version of the site, a new student would have to find the product demo through either a Makernet.work secondary page or the workspace homepage, and then fill out a complicated form to sign up for an account. On the new site, users will be able to find training that they are interested in quickly, and sign up for an account without leaving the page.

old user flow:

 

new user flow:

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Design

user testing

“I just want to know where I can go to build my project”

 
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We tested our minimum viable product on a combination of current and potential users to determine how to most effectively organize features and functionality on the site’s main page.

Test iterations: 3, with 3-4 user tests per iteration

Test actions:

  • Potential users: What is this site and what do you think you can do here?

  • Current users: Log into your account and book time using an available tool

Iterations

 

Results: After trying different approaches to navigation and search bars, we realized that we need to use simple, clear calls-to-action to appeal to users who want to create things as quickly as possible.

 

 

final deliverables

Focus on DIY

The new website is designed to eliminate obstacles and help users find the features they want to use more easily. We accomplished this through three major design decisions:

  1. Homepage that makes actions easy for users to find

  2. Simplified onboarding process

  3. Logged in homepage with clear schedule overview

 

Homepage

The new homepage provides clear directions to different features and a simple explanation of everything you can do on Makernet.

 
  1. Navigation

  2. Search bar

  3. A short explanation of what you can do here

  4. Most important functionality as indicated in user interviews


onboarding

We wanted the sign up process to be as simple as possible to save users time and convenience. We only require email and password to create an account initially, with an option to remember your login for the next time. This is a significant reduction from the information required on the earlier sign up form.

 

Before

After


user dashboard

In user interviews, scheduling was mentioned repeatedly as an important part of the maker/makerspace relationship. The new logged in user dashboard highlights the schedule through a calendar overview and a list of upcoming events.

 

Before

After


Results

At the end of our two-week sprint, we handed off design deliverables to the client, including a clickable prototype in Figma and annotated wireframes for the developers who will implement our designs.

Based on our research and three rounds of usability testing, we believe that the new design will make it easier for student makers to build projects and gain skills.

A sample of our file organization and wireframe annotations

 

Next Steps

The next step will be to develop a user flow for maker space managers, who have their own unique set of needs. We also look forward to creating a mobile, responsive version of the site.