Problem: You’re working on a large, complicated machine made of multiple parts and functions. Something goes wrong. The machine shuts down, or it starts shaking, or a part starts making a whirring noise — something you identify as out of the ordinary. You have a manual on location, as well as an online version. You start searching for what may be wrong, but the manual isn’t labeled effectively or is not comprehensively indexed.
Solution: Barcodes are placed on each segment of the machine. Using a scanner device with access to an online manual, you scan the problem area, and the device auto-searches and locates the appropriate section of the manual.
Presenting... a human being with a tablet device (with scanning functionality and an onboard manual, or access to an online manual).
The user encounters a confusing machine, or the machine is acting in a confusing manner. ("Help!")
The user scans a barcode (here, a QR code) physically applied to or near the problematic part of the machine.
The tablet device goes to the appropriate section of the manual, based on that scanned barcode.
And if that part or section of that machine is used in other machines, similar barcodes may be printed on those machines. Also, sections of the manual may be updated without needing to re-apply barcodes.
The overriding goal or objective here is this: Users do not need to guess where to look in the manual to find help, and an onsite manual is not needed. However, the company would need to create an electronic version of the manual. That’s the hitch.
Problem: You have a process that varies widely, depending on what the project entails (i.e. a 100-page website vs. a Facebook Page). However, when you propose a solution to a client, you still do not have the hours required per task fully detailed.
Solution: A clear hierarchy of your process. A discrete but non-sequential list of steps that adjust based on what the client agrees to pay for, and what is deemed appropriate for the project. A task tree!
First, the user creates a task tree with all of the possible steps in a particular project. Here, that project is a website design.
Now that the tree is created, the project manager or designer can pick elements (or “leaves,” if you want to continue the metaphor) from it and complete a project scheme.
The selected tasks are highlighted, and a list of suggested deliverables is created. From here, the amount of hours required for the project could be estimated.
It’s not robust, and it’s definitely a very rough concept. But the simplicity of being able to just pick and choose tasks from a complete and transparent selection and have a solid list of required project deliverables propagate… now that would be useful.
This could even be morphed into an application. Once a user selects all of the steps in the process, the system could auto-build a document template, from which the project team could complete and deliver to the client.