Design process: Short Interval Control app

"Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer – that the designers are handed this box and told, “Make it look good!” That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works"

- Steve Jobs

Process info

Introduction

Process shown below describes steps I took to launch a succesful product in the largest goldmine in the world - Goldstrike, Nevada, for Barrick Gold Corporation in 2019. Short Interval Control (SIC) is a structured process for identifying and acting on opportunities to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of production. MVP based on serverless AWS architecture is designed, developed and deployed within 3 months.

Preparation

The problem

Barrick wanted to improve the process in their mines by shortening amount of time needed to complete the task of digging gold. A solution from a third party company that was in use was inneficient, adoption was low, and it was very expensive. Short Interval Control project was created to solve these issues and the Scrum team of 7 started the 3 month journey to deliver an MVP.

Step 1

User journey mapping

Short Interval Control project started with User Journey Mapping and Heuristic Analysys of competitor's solution. My approach was to map out the details received directly from mine site managers, and then to deep dive into the process to pinpoint opportunities for the new application.

Boris Jankovic - Web design / Apps / User experience | borisjankovic.com

Step 2

Card sorting

Our scrum team used extensive card sorting sessions to sort out features by priorities and complexity, and to evaluate the information architecture of a site. Also, card sorting was used later to select and layout the best position for UI elements.

Boris Jankovic - Web design / Apps / User experience | borisjankovic.com

Step 3

User flow

My next stepy was to create a user flow based on user personas that were provided by implementation team. Detailed user flow for MVP and future releases were discussed with stakeholders to get feedback on the project structure.

Boris Jankovic - Web design / Apps / User experience | borisjankovic.com

Step 4

Style guide

An app that would work smoothly in specific mining environment needed to be carefully crafted. My goal was to define the Style Guide for Internal Software that covers the entire mining industry. Color schemes are created for, and tested in mine site conditions, and meet WCAG 2.0 AAA (highest) standard for visibility, safety and maximum production in mines.

Boris Jankovic - Web design / Apps / User experience | borisjankovic.com

Step 5

Wireframing

To design an app at the structural level I started with basic wireframes on iPad and whiteboard to get initial feedback from team members and devs. We laid out content and functionalites based on user journey and user flow mapping.

Boris Jankovic - Web design / Apps / User experience | borisjankovic.com

Step 6

Design system & color schemes

After extensive research I conducted during designing the Style Guide, I took the initiative to create a detailed Design System with color schemes tested for accessibility and color vision deficiency, in order to improve usability in various conditions such as a dark underground tunnel, or a bright open-pit mine area.

Boris Jankovic - Web design / Apps / User experience | borisjankovic.com

Step 7

Interactive prototype

My next step was to create an animated protype to showcase the app to stakeholders and to do initial Usability Testing with a test group of end users. Prototype was also used by devs to get the real feel, inspect the code, and to provide feedback directly on a prototype, by using InVision.

Step 8

Pairing with devs

Scrum team of 7 used one week sprints to deliver features. In final stages we used Agile XP to pair on development and automated testing to meet the 3 month deadline for MVP. App was deployed in Non-prod environment and on-site testing started.

Boris Jankovic - Web design / Apps / User experience | borisjankovic.com

Step 9

User testing & analytics

Before going to production at the largest goldmine in the world - Goldstrike, Nevada, the app was tested with sample users in non-prod environment. Analytics and performance tracking systems were used to collect raw data, and Think and Talk-aloud protocols for collecting direct feedback.

Boris Jankovic - Web design / Apps / User experience | borisjankovic.com

Outro

Conclusion

Creating a successful product by selecting the right approach and the right team is always a challenging process. The most important things are to have freedom to decide what is best in given timeline, collaborate to polish ideas, and respect the deadline. We managed to deliver the SIC it on time, and in January 2019 we deployed it at Goldstrike, the largest gold mine in the world. Having an in-house product, which is cheaper, performs better, and is tailored to specific conditions in mining industry was a great success for Barrick.

Also, adoption of any digital product in mining industry is a not an easy process. We wanted to change that too. In case of SIC, adoption was amazing as the app was built in collaboration with end users and their feedback was used to create the user flow and UI. A feeling that they were involved in the process of creating an application improved the implementation process and created such hype that managers from other mine sites asked for a version for their mine sites too.