MOBILE APP

Digital Tracking

Building transparency

for the diamond supply chain from the source in the artisanal mining sector.

Brief

Designed a mobile app for digital tracking of Artisanal Small-scale Mined (ASM) diamonds throughout the supply chain. The app aims to address the key challenges and risks relating to artisanal and small-scale mining activity by providing traceability and provenance.

My role

Lead Product Designer

Supervising Junior Product Designer

Product manager

THE PROBLEM

Lack of transparency and traceability has been a historical risk and challenge for the diamond supply chain, especially in the ASM sector.

CHALLENGES

Use feasible technologies to create a digital solution to track diamonds from the source.

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How might we design a digital product for people who have low technological sophistication?


How might we enhance product usability in spite of the poor internet connections in Sierra Leone?

How might we help the artisanal miners to reduce the effort to learn and adapt to new ways of working?

BACKGROUND

Review the existing app

The business expanded its model which in turn changed the use-case scenario of the app.

OLD MODEL /
User: Artisanal miner

Artisanal miners were provided with one and half years training with the NGO, once the training finished the miner will be given a full toolkit set from GemFair. The toolkit includes the diamond evaluation tools and a tablet with the GemFair diamond tracking app. The artisanal miners could log in their findings on their own.

NEW MODEL /
User: GemFair field officer

GemFair certifies mines that meet minimum criteria from responsible assurance programme and recruit them to participate GemFair membership programme. Artisanal miners are offered the training from GemFair. When the member mines find diamonds, they will phone the GemFair field officer to log in diamonds for them.

According to the new model, we needed to revisit the user journey and see what changes needed to be made.

DISCOVERY

User journey map

  • Conducted two to three interviews per stakeholders

  • Created user journey map approved by the stakeholders

I started this project with stakeholder interviews to create an overview of the mine journey map from the new business model. Through the journey map, it helped the team to understand the six key questions:

- Why do we need to record each diamond?
- What is the purpose of each step?
- Who are the players in each event?
- Where does each event take place?
- When does each event take place?
- How might we create a seamless user journey?

This step helped to get everyone on board and to make sure the key stakeholders (Programme Manager, Operations Manager, Field team) agreed with the project scope, development process and roadmap.

CREATE

Low-fidelity prototyping

  • Conducted user testing with over ten participants

  • Focused on online/offline flows 

  • Multiple Iteration

During the wireframing stage, it was an iterative process in which I worked closely with four software developers. One of the main challenges we were working with was to make sure the app works both online and offline. For a designer who empathises with the end-users, I needed to ensure the flow would be as frictionless with or without an internet connection.

Learnings from the user interview were beneficial to understanding users who have very different cultural backgrounds and
technological sophistication. I conducted several video interviews alongside user testing of a low fidelity prototype to validate the user flow. The feedback was invaluable, which helped to ensure that the app met its goals and was truly useful in the field.

DELIVERY

Detailed design

  • Improved app usability

  • Simplified the log in process

  • Increased user confidence

The design process focused on conveying clear messages with the assistance of easily understandable graphics and simple calls to action. Another area of focus was error states and messaging to make the user feel secure and confident while using the app.

Comparison between the old interface and new interface.

FEEDBACK

User testing

  • Evaluated the Minimum viable product (MVP)

  • Interviewed six ASM miners, 1 hour each

  • Follow up a half-day workshop to identify opportunities for further improvement

Interview with one of the ASM miners at his mine

The product team (Lead Engineer and myself) went to Sierra Leone to test out the first version of our app.

The focus of the trip was:

ASM miner interviews
We conducted six interviews with the ASM sites. We started with a contextual interview to get a deeper understanding of the way miners work and how would they use the app. Then we asked two miners at each mine to test the new Gemfair App and gathered their feedback.

Interview with GemFair Koidu team
We also interviewed the Koidu team who work directly or closely with the ASM miners. During the interviews, we wanted to understand how they work with the miners, what kind of tools they use, their feedback for the GemFair app, and how we can help them work more smoothly.

Workshop with the ASM miners
With the information we gathered from previous interviews with miners and GemFair staff, we created three activities for the workshop that aimed to get a better understanding of how GemFair can help improve mining productivity and increase its engagement with the miners.

Workshop with the ASM miners

A detailed field report is available upon request.

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© 2020 by Wei-Ting Fu