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Improving Mining Operational Experience

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The problem

This project involved two applications - a logbook (tablet) and a management and operational application (desktop) that were used for regular mining operations by approx 15,000 users across globe. The process was quite complicated as there were multiple locations and logbooks, different types of inspections and inspection categories and various hoisting operations. The vision for these products was to digitize and simplify the manual process of data entry and maintenance and process approval. However, with the current design, the success metrics were really low. Users were leaning more on the pen and paper data entry. There were inconsistencies across different logbooks, design was cluttered, navigation and components were confusing,  and there was gap in data translation from the logbook to the Ops app.  Also, there was no way to manage users and their roles and permissions.


My contribution

On onboarding the project, I took some time to understand the existing product and the process by looking into the design artifacts, talking to the product owner, the business analyst, and other team members. I also connected with the engineering team to go through UAT and staging environments. This process helped me understand what is done and what needs to be done. I noticed that this project never saw any persona creation work. Although on gathering knowledge about the users, I realized how crucial it is to make the personas a part of the design thinking process. I scheduled several sessions with the users and the business, conducted proto-persona workshops and created the personas for the first time in this project. It helped the team to prioritize decisions  by adding a layer of real-world consideration to the conversations. I also created journey maps and user flows by extracting data out of the discussions. This painted a visual picture to understand the "why"s. I conducted a UX assessment on the existing designs to identify the customer pain points and provided recommendations on how to improve those experiences.

Hoist personas

Persona creation in progress

User flows

The userflows to map the user journey

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Roles and permission mapping for user management

UX assessment and recommendations
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UX assessment and recommendations

The scopes were prioritized, and I worked with the business analyst for the creation of the UX stories in the design kanban board.  I maintained and groomed the stories.  During the redesigning of the platforms, I had collaborative sessions with the product and engineering leads to validate the processes and the data structure and assess the reusability of the component library assets to reduce the development effort. As a part of the design process, I flagged accessibility issues existing in the platform. Some of them were approved for the current roadmap, whereas others were parked for future consideration.

Accessibility work 1

Accessibility work

I also completed the first usability tests for the design flows in the project and shared the results with the team. The effort was appreciated as the team members realized how usability tests help mitigate risks, reduce rework and ensure that the design solution is on the right track. Besides, I actively participated in the design QA to review the visual design execution, micro-interactions, functionality, and content. 

Usability test

Setting up usability test

Test result 1
Test result 2
Heat map

Analyzing test results and heat map

Hi-fidelity design
Logbook Landing Page
User management
Inspection details page
Adding comments
Add person
Ops landing page
logbook monthly inspection details
An exclusive

I did something exclusive for this project. To strengthen the relation between design and engineering, I facilitated a workshop where I did an evaluation of figma file structuring and nomenclature conventions with the developers. I discovered they often had hard times finding the correct page or mockup.  This session really helped the team come to an alignment and definitely helped me take better decisions for organizing the figma files. 

Worshop with devs on figma
The impact

With the final designs:

  • designs became cleaner and crisper

  • there was consistency in the components across the platforms

  • component library was updated with accessible assets

  • engineering effort reduced by about 30% by designing reusable components

  • users could have a clear visibility of inspection status and categories

  • simplifying the navigation between different logbooks and inspection types

  • improved responsive experience 

  • clearly defined functionality for components

  • engaging more users to complete the process digitally

  • the operators who were middle to nearing old aged persons with less technology knowledge and resistance to changes were really happy with enhancements and the additions 

  • breaking silos and improving relationship between engineering and design

The takeaways
  • Personas help cross-functional team members connect with the target audience and make better product decisions

  • A constant collaboration with product and engineering ensures that the team is aligned and a successful product is built

  • How usability tests help a team to uncover problems, discover opportunities and learn about user expectations

  • Organizing figma file in accordance with work phases saves time and increases discoverability

  • When timeline is a constraint, having a visual referencel for scope- effort-timeline helps the team to be aware on the progress of the work 

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Scope - UX effort - UX value - time mapping

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