A mobile app that helps field technicians survey and maintain gas pipelines.
Role: Interaction / UX Designer
Client: American Innovations
Tools: Sketch App, InVision, Flinto
American Innovations (Ai) provides hardware and software services to support compliant energy infrastructure. One of Ai’s product is the Allegro, a field data pc. Field technicians use the Allegro to conduct inspections at test sites along gas pipelines.
The Allegro is a capable machine, but Ai wants a more modern solution. They want to update their software for mobile platforms. I joined the team to help them design the app for the new The challenge is to define the expanded feature set for a much more capable product. I worked closely with Ai to parse through legacy features as well as add new features that match the ambitions of a new product and space.
Understanding the System
I first approached this project by creating an inventory of the Ai ecosystem. It gave me a general understanding of technical terms and existing use cases. Going forward, this helped me classify content as distinct objects. This was the first step in imagining the new design.
Defining the Scope
One of the biggest challenges was updating the feature set for a new platform. I worked closely with Ai to parse through legacy features as well as add new ones that match the ambitions of a new product and space.
Because this project was a refresh, I was fortunate enough to start with a defined set of user goals and needs. Regular walkthroughs of the design with Ai helped clarify functional requirements, better understand the pipeline inspection process, and communicate the direction I was taking the design at each step of the way.
A sites screen that allows field technicians to easily navigate between different locations.
A survey screen that allows field technicians to perform inspections and maintenance at each site.
I deconstructed the current software on the Allegro back to its information architecture and found that the home screen (sites screen) carries all navigation. All other screens are completely isolated from one another. This made navigation from that point heavy, confusing, and congested.
I mirrored the field technician workflow when creating the new structure for the design. The flow structure is a task-based structure where the users move consecutively through the design like they would through their field assignments.
The two main spaces of content are sites and survey. Field technician will complete a survey at each site until their assignment is complete. I purposefully tried to build contrast in how the design looks and functions in these to spaces. The contrast helps separate how the user will expect to use the design in each space.
Below is a motion test I presented very early on in the process to communicate the direction of the design to Ai. Motion allowed me to fit many features into the same space so I didn’t have to disturb the flow of the design. I was able to include features like mapping, searching, adding sites, and options without leaving the context of the main space.
The sites screen is the main hub for an assignment. Every site in the assignment is represented on the map and listed on the site card. Progress to finding the right ‘Calls to action’ and language for each of the features that are included in the sites screen were hammered out by a fluid iteration process.
The final sites screen is the culmination of several small ui tweaks and content changes. We parred back from many of the color and icon choices to provide a cleaner navigation experience.
Landing on a Survey Screen was a content challenge. There are many different types of surveys that field technicians need to be able to complete so that meant there were many different entry fields that were needed as well. With guidance from Ai, I was able to meet those requirements through deliberate iterations for each field entry type.
The Survey screen also has a strong interface relationship with the sites screen. I wanted to use motion to emphasize this. The Final survey screen really takes advantage of this relationship. The user should have the impression that they are drilling into the survey and back out again to navigate to the next site.
Overall style choices follow established Ai branding.
American Innovations was the first big client I was able to work with and it was probably the most instructive. Through mistake and trial, I learned how to better communicate myself as designer. I also found it really enjoyable to workshop my designs with the American Innovations staff on a weekly basis. We were able to find a momentum that carried the design to its final stages rather quickly.