ROLE: DESIGN RESEARCH, UX/UI DESIGN
Caban Systems designs and manufactures lithium-ion energy storage systems for backup and off-grid telecom applications. The energy storage systems allow for remote monitoring and control.
Telecommunication sites are typically powered by diesel generators, making it infeasible for site owners to host multiple tenants. SBA Communications, for example, owns 32k sites. If AT&T is hosted on a site, SBA would have to offer a nearby site to Sprint even though AT&T does not need the full capabilities of its site. Why? You can’t track how much energy is used by each tenant so multi-tenant rental contracts are too difficult to implement. Enter Caban: Intelligent energy storage systems that offer discrete load monitoring, allowing site owners to host multiple tenants.
I was the sole product designer on the energy management and billing platform. I worked closely with the CEO and an embedded software engineer.
From my previous marketing work with Caban, I had good understanding of the energy storage system’s value propositions and where the software fits in to deliver each. I also downloaded quite a bit of information from my CEO from her many years of experience either working with telecommunication companies or on the sites. However, there were some gaps to be filled.
To dive deeper, I spoke to representatives from our 9 pilot customers to hear their key objectives and motivations. Through our representatives, we connected with the actual operators of the sites – these were the people that would use our software regularly. We did a series of interviews with the operators, followed by a pre-set questionnaire for deeper insights focusing on:
- Daily tasks and activities and associated pain points
- % of their responsibilities devoted to energy management
- Work environment – traveling to different sites or situated in one control center, setup of work environment, etc.
From the interviews and questionnaires, we came upon some key insights:
- The majority of operators manage multiple sites that require daily monitoring. It’s a small part of their responsibilities so they need a full status update at-a-glance.
- Real-time status alerts on mobile is the key feature because operators spent time on the road during the workday. If the power goes down, suddenly energy management is their biggest responsibility.
- The mobile app needs to be optimized to display downtime details and troubleshooting information.
With my CEO, I evaluated features by weighing the feedback from the customer rep and the operators against the technical feasibility of the implementation with inputs from the embedded software engineer. We prioritized accordingly and planned out the implementation phases.
For each feature set, I mocked up low-fidelity designs and iterated with feedback from my CEO. After 3 iterations, I created high-fidelity mockups from the final one.
I created a clickable prototype for usability testing with the operators that we spoke to during the discovery phase.
For each planned phase of the implementation, I created the user flow for the engineers to reference.