SIC 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

Introduction

This process describes the UX/UI steps I took to help launch 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 efficiency of production. MVP based on serverless AWS architecture is designed, developed, and deployed within six months.

The problem

Barrick wanted to improve the process in their mines by shortening the 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 costly. The Short Interval Control project was created to solve these issues, and the Scrum team of 7 started the 6-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 solution. My approach was to map out the details received directly from Mine Managers and then deep dive into the process to pinpoint opportunities for the new application.

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

Step 2

Planning IA

Our team used extensive planning sessions to sort features by priorities and evaluate the project's complexity. The user flow grew more significant as we dived deeper into the project's structure. We used Card Sorting to ensure we didn't miss important details and to have a complete picture of tasks in one place.

The next step was to use Red Routes to sort features by usage and priorities. Also, we created a brand new syncing strategy in the app with AWS tools. We were one of the first teams using AWS AppSync. This new feature added formidable value to the project.

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

Step 3

User Flow

My next step was creating a User Flow Map based on user personas provided by the UX Research & Implementation team. A detailed map for MVP (with possible future features) was presented to stakeholders to get early feedback on the product.

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

Step 4

Style Guide

When designing an app for a demanding mining environment used in multi-million dollar vehicles and control rooms, it's critical to follow accessibility standards. My next step was to create the Style Guide to cover the essential needs of app usage in extreme conditions. Color schemes are designed for specific mine site conditions and meet WCAG 2.0 AAA (highest) standard 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

The next step was to create essential assets for the Design System to cover this app and serve as a foundation for other apps used in critical mining operations. All color schemes are tested for accessibility and color vision deficiency to improve usability in various conditions, such as a dark underground tunnel or a bright open-pit 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

Testing & Pairing with Devs

Our scrum team used one-week sprints to deliver features. Before we went live, we worked on final tweaks in this stage, including fixing critical bugs after user testing. We also switched to Agile XP to swarm on testing (and automated testing) to meet the deadline for MVP.

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

Step 9

Rollout & Analytics

The app rollout at the largest gold mine in the world - Goldstrike, Nevada, happened weekly over the following three months. Barrick gradually added new users to keep the system stable and ensure all users received proper training. We heavily used analytics and performance tracking systems to ensure smooth app functioning during this period.

It was amazing to see our app running in the largest vehicles in the world.

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

Summary

Creating a successful product by selecting the right approach and the right team is always a challenging process. The most important things are 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 an excellent success for Barrick.

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