Intermec's line of printers for small, cost-conscious businesses was in need of a refresh. This type of customer might print 5-50 labels per day to send packages via FedEx.
Six models would leverage one platform to benefit development cost. Half would benefit from a GUI while others only had warning icon labels. Plus a white healthcare model would be introduced to print patient wristbands.
Voice of Customer Research | Form Factor Industrial Design | Product Label Graphic Design | Step Procedure Illustration
By plotting out the competition, it helped to see where our printer fit into the bigger picture. This aids in styling the surfaces towards end user expectations and acceptance.
I studied how to use a top competitive printer to find its usability strengths and weaknesses.
I looked at other products that embodied qualities of simplicity, lightness of mass, and robustness.
Creating form studies helps to determine scale and whether or not the form actually looks appropriate on a desk.
Our painted form study models were put in front of the appropriate type of users-- small to medium-size business owners who would ship several packages a day. We encouraged verbal observations about our designs. They talked about desk space as their major concerns which pushed us toward a small footprint.
They may put the printer on top of their computer which sat on the floor or mount it high on a shelf. This led to considering the angle of the User Interface as a main consideration. An LCD screen that could adjust nearly 90 degrees was the main conclusion drawn from this insight.
The UI was centered around a big blue actionable print/feed button since it is the most used button operation. The rest of the UI was balanced around the LCD controls. Some considerations were left/right handed operation, size of buttons for clear actuation, iconography for worldwide use, and an easily cleanable surface with less seam lines.
Specifications called out color and part breakup and considerations for manufacturing, serviceability, and customization.
Working through feasibility issues our vendors had with the design, we could see how to help them or push them to accomplish the product. A lot of give and take had to do with COGS (Cost of Goods Sold), but an eye on the end user experience helped to push back for a worthwhile high quality design with a competitive advantage.
Illustrations were created for in-printer Wizards, initial setup and installation for the CD, and printed Quick Start Guides. Step by step procedures show the end user different features, how to load ribbon and media, and how to clean and service the printer.