Developing a new style of 3D printing involves upending expectations and interfaces between users, products and hardware. Affordable stereolithography systems were first introduced by Formlabs, which was immediately faced with the challenge of simplifying an industrial process for novice users seeking an “it just works” experience.
Shortly after joining Formlabs, I identified the need to bring user research into to product design cycle.
As a startup, Formlabs began by shipping the minimum viable product and engaging users to upgrade and patch the hardware through improved software, guidance and UI. The “ship first” strategy is particularly effective with legions of experienced, dedicated users excited about exploring a new technology. They can be quite vocal about strengths and shortcomings, but following up on the feedback helps to quickly iterate on a product in short order.