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

The process shown below describes UX/UI steps I took to help launching a successful product in the largest gold mine 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 inefficient, adoption was low, and it was very expensive. The 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

The Short Interval Control project started with User Journey Mapping and Heuristic Analysis of competitor's solutions. 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 team used extensive card sorting sessions to sort features by priorities, and to evaluate the complexity of the project. Also, card sorting was used later to decide what would be the best position for certain features and in which order they should appear. Combined with Red Routes this appeared to be a powerful strategy which helped us to dive deep into the structure of the project.

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

Step 3

User flow

My next step was to create a user flow based on user personas that were provided by the implementation team. A detailed User Flow for MVP and the possible future releases were presented to stakeholders to get an early feedback on the project structure.

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

Step 4

Style guide

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

Boris Jankovic, UX/UI Designer based in California - Apps | Wearables | AR/VR/MR | Automotive | borisjankovic.com

Step 5

Wireframing

To design an app at the structural level I started with the low-def wireframes on iPad to get initial feedback from team members. Then we switched to whiteboard to collaborate on improving the layout and functionality based on user journey and user flow mapping.

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

Step 6

Design system & color schemes

After the 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, 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 prototype to showcase the app to stakeholders and to do initial Usability Testing with a test group of end users. The prototype was also used by developers to get the real feel on the actual device, to inspect the code, and to provide feedback by adding comments directly on a prototype.

Step 8

Pairing with devs

Scrum team of 7 used one-week sprints to deliver features. In the final stage, we used Agile XP to pair on development and automated testing to meet the 3-month deadline for MVP. The final stage included fixing bugs and solving edge case issues found during non-prod environment testing.

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

Step 9

The rollout & analytics

The app rollout at the largest gold mine in the world - Goldstrike, Nevada, included weekly expansions by gradually adding new users in order to keep system stable and to make sure all users are properly trained. 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

Summary

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 the freedom to decide what is best in the given timeline, collaborate to polish ideas, and respect the deadline. We managed to deliver the SIC 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 the mining industry was a great success for Barrick. Exact numbers of ROI are confidential.

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