Mining and remote workshops
The Greenhouse framework
The Greenhouse is one of the solutions that Vale's technology department has developed to help the internal team to find opportunities for innovation. Inspired by the design sprints, it happens through local sessions of co-creative workshops with stakeholders and external designers, all over Brazil, in a shorter time. The workshops and the phases of ideation, design, prototyping, and tests usually happen in 03 days. The framework focuses on Vale's internal problems, but it can be flexible, as required, such as the case within this project.
Workshop with stakeholders
My first challenge was to adapt to the Greenhouse workshop in an online format. Through research, I've adjusted the method, process, and form of application, to fit in the new context.
Online workshop04 hours
- Understand the problem
- Understand the user and their needs
- Exchange information and knowledge about routines and contexts
- Review initial ideas and usage flows
- Review the issues raised in the workshop
- Map needs and functionalities
- Devise possible solution formats
- Define usage flow
- Design wireframes
- Search for market references
- Develop the interface
- Create a prototype on Invision
- Apply new online prototype validation workshop with stakeholders
- Adjust prototype after validation
- Finish and refine screens
- List interactions for the development
- Generate components for delivery
In the workshop, we've mapped the pain-points and needs of using the application and separated according to the context of use and functionalities, as:
Context of use
- Differences of the physical environment, such as the mine and the office;
- Physical limitations by security equipment (EPIS);
- Low light - light only from helmets;
- Miners vision get tired due to many hours in the dark;
- We couldn't use sound resources.
The design process began when we finished the video conference. We started by reviewing the challenges and documents delivered by the stakeholders, in addition to the screens of the initial idea, generating the first hypothesis with the first drawings of flows and screens. Due to the short time, we stayed in the sketches and then moved directly to the UI.
Throughout the process, we considered some aspects, such as:
- The app would have an interface for the dark environment or low light;
- On the main screen, it would show everything the supervisor listed for the worker, visualizing the details of the task on another screen, to increase focus;
- Priority tasks would always start on their own, with no need for user input (auto tasks);
- To better organize, a notification/clock would show when the next task needed to start.
For the solution, we thought on the analogy of a playlist, where the supervisor would create the "playlist of the day" for each miner, thus:
For the interface design, the Greenhouse process works with style guides, based on Material Design with the direction of Vale's branding applied. However, we wanted to make the interface adapted to a dark environment, so I customized it, considering particularities for the design of dark screens:
- Little text, focusing on tasks and details on a separate screen;
- White-spacing to facilitate reading because of the dark "steals" light, demanding more space between the elements;
- Reduction of white not to increase contrast too much;
- Use of warm colors a little low not to contrast with the light of the helmet directed to the screen;
- Use of few colors to avoid creating too much contrast and not to pollute visually;
Screens ready, I created the prototype to present to the stakeholders in a new validation workshop. We aligned expectations, following feedback, and suggestions for improvements in the implementation.
- The workshop challenge was so productive and exciting. Parts of the online methodology need to be continually improving, such as a Lean process;
- Remote workshops are possible, feasible, and can be very productive. Online collaboration is much more delicate to stimulate. It's necessary to think well of a good agenda, to reduce activity time - compared to a regular workshop - to find online tools that are suitable for collaboration and also to allow all participants to see each other via video;
- Explain first to the participants how to use collaborative tools to avoid fearing failure because everyone is watching;
- Prototyping, even in the simplest of ways, is essential for people from another context - and language - to understand your design proposal better. And not just send screens, but instead, carry out a walkthrough, and this creates much higher value and impact;
- Sprint sessions work very well to stimulate ideas, and tight time allows the process to become more focused and objective, increasing the challenge of the project;
- Using style guides makes the process much more comfortable, but it needs to be flexible enough to allow changes without losing the characteristics of the brand.