2 Replies Latest reply on Oct 9, 2013 9:44 AM by dgennetten

    The Doctor is In—Tell me where it Hurts

      I have a simple open-ended question for Orbit users and potential users:  “For YOU, what are your most pressing unsolved problems in your field operations?"   Please post your thoughts and ideas (along with what your role or title is), as responses to this discussion. This may or may not be something Orbit could address—just tell us where where it hurts.


      Why do I care? I am the User Experience Design Engineer on Orbit. As a "UX" guy, it is vital for me to maintain a close pulse on the needs and pain points of the end user. With Orbit, this is somewhat challenging since it’s a brand new platform without a large installed base of active users. Soon, we hope to have engaging discussions around Orbit’s user experience in our PAG meetings and LINK. Right now, however, we’re making important decisions on a daily basis which will impact users, while also laying the groundwork for future Orbit platform directions.  While we have a lot of seasoned experts working on the design of Orbit, we still feel the need for increased input from you, our future happy users. What challenges to YOU face that frustrate you the most? By understanding your pain-points, we may be able to invent a solution you didn't know you need.


      PS.  Also, do not forget, we have a place where you can easily submit your ideas for Orbit's future direction.

        • Re: The Doctor is In—Tell me where it Hurts
          Kevin Brown

          Certainly a touch-centric interface opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.  Basic navigation is pretty much standard, but how do you present a range of other tools without cluttering the UI?  And when your users are linemen with gloves on (or at least large fingers) then it becomes even more difficult to present tools and information easily.

          My pain point came as I was standing in my yard talking to a lineman telling me it took him 1/2 an hour to find the transformers on my loop so they could isolate a burnout.  He told me the (custom ArcReader app *I WROTE*) was too hard to use in the field - ACK!

          For UG loops they need easy trace functions that highlight the conductor path and note the transformers and fuse end-points. This is the ArcFM Desktop downstream trace result:


          A good start but ideally the trace would pass over the open point (at the lower left) of the loop and highlight both sides, maybe even change buffer color for each side. Similar results would help for Overhead - the trace should find all upstream and downstream switches for isolation.

          The key to these, for me, is visualization in context.  A tool that finds features and highlights them on the map is OK, but it's much more helpful if it shows those features in context with where the crew is now as well as how those features relate to what is upstream and downstream.

          These issues are directed more at daily trouble work, not inspections as Orbit has been designed to address, but I hope that some day an ArcFM Viewer replacement based on technologies like Orbit will be available.

            • Re: The Doctor is In—Tell me where it Hurts




              First, thanks for the detailed and insightful post! This is exactly the kind of feedback we crave. You can be sure these notes get a lot of attention and translate directly into product improvements.

              You hit on a topic which is particularly pertinent in our current Orbit platform design efforts: touch-centric design. Orbit currently straddles the fence between desktop and tablet design: it must work well on both a laptop/mouse platform as well as a touch-only tablet. While we know that a great many of our users will in fact be using existing non-touch laptops and tablets, we are braced for a possibly very rapid transition to a world where touch support is dominate.  Fully-embracing a touch-only experience does certainly open up a new realm of possibilities. There is a ground-swIC617531.pngell of new thinking occurring around rethinking user experience design for line-of-business (LOB) applications in a touch-friendly world. Here for example (and shown at the right), is a case study for a mobile workforce application deployed as a Windows Store application. The result is dramatically different from its desktop predecessorand arguably much more engaging, intuitive, and mobile-friendly. 


              If you were at the last LINK, you might have seen a preview of our early efforts to transform Orbit into a Windows Store experience. I believe we still have a ways to go with this design (To me, this first attempt at building Orbit-on-Windows-Store still seems to retain too much DNA from the desktop experience and does not yet capture the essential benefit afforded by Metro-style design), but I am quite convinced that this new “fast and fluid” world of Windows Store apps will enable dramatic improvements that will benefiteven delightour users.


              You should expect great things from our next wave of mobile solutions, and with more excellent feedback like this, you are helping us get there.