I was a part of a design team at Pacific Science & Engineering (PSE) working on a government contract project, CaSHMI. CaSHMI is an interface used by submariners to control multiple unmanned vehicles. Due to NDA, I am unable to show my work on this project. My role on CaSHMI was to advocate for the user and their needs, as well as the needs of our client and partners on this project.
In the discover phase of this project, we talked to users to understand the complexities of their job, and what current challenges they face. We also interviewed people who were not submariners specifically, but had experience with unmanned vehicles.
Research & Analysis
Since CaSHMI is a very complex, innovative tool, we did not have any legacy systems for the same function as CaSHMI to research. Instead, we researched systems that were currently being used for different pieces of the users' tasks they had to accomplish.
Once we had a better understanding of our users and their needs, as well as project requirements, the designers collaborated with Human Factors scientists to create some initial task flows and concepts based on the insights we gained from the research phase.
After sketching, I create wireframes in Adobe XD & Illustrator, which I eventually use for a wire-flow. Once this is created, this is usually one of the points where I bring in stakeholders to review before spending time on high-fidelity designs. I work very closely with the development team throughout my process, however this piece is very important for me to make sure we have worked out any kinks that may exist or recognize any flaws in the flow. I also work with them to figure out how long development may take, and from there together we consider tradeoffs and prioritize features of the new concept.
Based on the UI Style Guide I created, I designed high-fidelity screens in Adobe XD. A click through prototype is then created in order to help the developers understand the interactions, as well as flesh out detailed specs before handing off to development.
Due to the complexity and amount of data required to effectively prototype our UI, prototyping was done by the development team.
Once we had a working prototype, we had submariners use our system to control multiple unmanned vehicles in test events. Due to both the limitation of access to our users, and restrictions on actual unmanned vehicle flights, we were very limited on the extensiveness of testing. However, once we were able to observe users with our system and facilitate user testing, we took our new knowledge and went back to the ideation and prototyping phases.
Where is CaSHMI now?
Government projects require extensive testing and many levels of approval before deploying the program onto actual submarines. I was asked to represent the design team from PSE for testing our project in 2017. This involved collaboration with decision-makers in government research institutions and other stakeholders. During this testing phase, I facilitated user testing as well as quality-assurance testing and reporting of bugs. CaSHMI currently is in the last phases of approval and is expected to be deployed onto submarine systems in the near future.