iFix Videos


As the global work-force ages, companies are facing a unique challenge.  How do you transfer the knowledge that their senior workers have gained through years of experience?  How can that knowledge be presented to the You Tube generation, in a way that they prefer? And finally, how do you keep up with the content that needs to be created to setup and maintain a robust database?


A Fortune 500 manufacturing company asked hD to create a mobile platform to enable video based “just in time” training for their newer hourly employees (electricians, mechanics and machine operators).  The content was created in a completely unique fashion – the client team approached a veteran electrician and asked him what he would have liked to know, if he was a newbie.  Based on his suggestions (rare and complex problems), the team created a series of videos and video play-lists (for longer tasks).  Each video is 60 – 90 seconds long, and details a specific task – foundational things that are covered in training are avoided.  Our task was to create a You Tube like mobile solution.


Here are a couple of my observations from helping develop iFix Videos:


Context is King:  When developing a mobile solution, the context that the user is in provides vital information in making the solution relevant.  For example, we knew which Trouble-call the technician is on, when they would fire up iFix Videos.  Therefore, by accessing the Trouble-call system, we were able to serve up the most relevant video to that trouble call.  This saved the user the hassle of searching for the relevant videos.


Search for Stickiness:  While we knew the use case for newer employees, we weren’t so sure about why established workers would use the app – granted, that it included videos for rare and complex cases.  An off-chance observation – that workers used white-boards to communicate notes between shifts, led to an “aha” moment.  What if we re-created the white-boards to create a Notes feature?  Turns out that this minor feature is one of the more popular aspects of the app and the one that has enticed senior workers to try the app out.


Prototype, prototype, prototype:  Previous to our involvement, much of the conversation had been theoretical, without any clear direction of features and functions.  In order to get agreement, and to demonstrate what the app could do, we built a shallow prototype to show it to stake-holders and users.  This step was crucial in generating support and buzz for the app.  Additionally, it forced the client team to make some hard choices on scope.  Building out the production version of the app was relatively easy because all of the hard-thinking was already done.


The app will be used on Surface Pro tablet, and on browsers for use on machine kiosks.  Other areas of the factory have begun enquiring about how they can get access to the app.  Further, the company plans to extend the app to machine documents and other artifacts.  Hopefully, it won’t be long before a technician can confidently say “iFix anything!”





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