THE LOCAL ENERGY MARKET
IS A £16.7 MILLION PROJECT FUNDED BY THE EU & CENTRICA
A virtual marketplace that provides participants with a platform to buy and sell energy and at the same time providing flexibility both to the grid and wholesale energy market. The platform combines smart technologies with flexible demand, generation and storage across both domestic and business sectors with the aim to support the local electricity distribution network and potentially reduce the cost of energy for local homes and businesses.
Hi-fidelity Prototype creation
As lead Product / UX designer in the agile startup team, I worked closely with stakeholders to help steer this multi-award-winning project to success.
Working closely with the business team, Product Owner (SME) Sam Wevers and project director (TSME) Nicolas Métivier we developed a unique, first to market MVP solving our core users' needs while fulfiling the business goals.
With our first step, I worked with the business to identify and define our platform's user types. Our users were in 3 groups:
- Buyer - Energy distribution managers (DNO)
Create and manage bids for energy
- Seller - Business energy managers and aggregators
Create and manage energy supply offers
- Subscribers - Exeter University, Imperial College London
Research and monitor the success and potential of the platform
We then conducted qualitative research by running the project's first usability test on the initial POC application that existed before I joined the team.
We discovered that the existing application was not fit for purpose and the bid creation process was not unusable. All of our participants failed to create bids on the POC application and the dashboard's data was not understood. The usability testing report I created helped form the basis for a complete rethink and rebuild.
The team began this new direction with a design sprint to quickly discover and design a more realistic concept, test it with users and begin to iterate within only one week.
We ran regular micro discovery workshops in order to drill down into the detail and understand the key business goals which in turn revealed the user problems that the platform was tasked to solve. Using 'How Might We?' statements we framed our problems.
Out of this, we created the platform's core design PBI's based around our user journey desires and together with the team we organised and prioritised the design work.
In order to design the prototypes, we had to identify and understand all of the data points that make up a bid or offer of energy. Sketches and diagrams together with data requirements were workshopped and developed until we were ready to create testable hi-fidelity prototypes using Sketch and InVision or Axure for the more complex interfaces.
We continued to test and learn as we designed new features. The below example shows a remote usability test on our concept prototype for a repeating bid creation tool. This interface was created to allow the buyers to create a pattern of recurring daily bids for energy over a definable amount of weeks for either a set amount of iterations or up until the set end date. This would auto-generate the bids, therefore, saving the user the arduous task of manually entering all of the repeated data onto the system.