Disrupting a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry on a Tight Budget and Deadline
Energy Domain was creating a technology-driven platform to help buyers, sellers, and lessees better manage oil and gas properties by integrating nationwide well information, production data, analytics, and alerts.
Many oil, gas and mineral property owners are unaware of any marketplace and are often left out from participating.
The leadership at Energy Domain had just over a month to have a working prototype for what had been desrcibed as ‘the largest Oil & Gas tradeshow of the year’. They were looking to have a prototype of their mobile and desktop application to present to investors.
- Create a safe and secure marketplace for buyers and sellers to market their mineral, royalty, and working interests.
- With three selling options: buy now, auction, or continuous listing, sellers can enter the market on their terms.
- We would use their existing map and data to expedite the working prototype.
- Stakeholder Interviews
- Competitive Analysis (RealEstate sites)
- Online Groups and Forums
- Sketchboard Sessions with Stakeholders
The competitive analysis was done with the key stakeholders and the lead investor.
Revenue (2022): $1.95b (approx.)
- ‘Free’ to browse. Details saved for members
- “Cool” region selector tool
- Heavy with photos. “We won’t have those.”
Revenue (2022): $1.92b (approx.)
- Smaller photos, more details readily available
- Despite plenty of information, it’s a bit hard to digest
- Like the “Market Insights” for the area
Revenue: Zillow (parent co.)
- Data heavy with charts and tables (good thing)
- Contact an Agent (no details)
- Solid property descriptions
Online Groups and Forums
- Buyers were missing unit deadlines
- Buyers wanted to set alerts for listings
- based on expiration
- based on price changes
- Buyers wanted to have a saved watchlist
- r/FinancialAdvice filled with ‘How do I sell my mineral rights?” questions
- Potential sellers unfamiliar with process
- Numerous ‘questionable’ offers
- Sellers wanted to see Brokers ‘rated’ like Realtors
Due to the tight deadline and budget, I conducted 2 Sketchboarding sessions. The first session consisted of the critical stakeholders; The CEO, CTO, and the lead developer. The second session I performed was with the key investor and his spouse.
- Each participant has a timebox of 10 minutes
- Each participant is allowed a sharpie and a template with 8 ‘screens.’
- Participants must draw what they imagine the site’s pages to look like.
- Participants then presented their versions to the room for discussion.
- Each participant has a timebox of 5 minutes per screen
- Participants then define 1 of each of the significant screens based on participant feedback
- Facilitate conversations between participants.
- The session is often the first time participants see the project as an interface instead of an abstract word document.
- Usually, the best solutions appear during the conversations between the participants.
At the end of the second Sketcboard session with the key investor, I could assemble a rapid paper prototype of the screens discussed in the sessions to confirm everyone involved agreed on our conclusions.
Due to the success of the paper prototype, we could move through the wireframe process quickly. During the wireframe stage, I created a small slack channel for a handful of Redditors that expressed some interest during my research phase to get outside feedback.
Prototype – Select Screens
Throughout this process, we continually checked with our small pool of users to ensure we would deliver the best possible experience. We had a slack channel and shared screenshots to expedite the feedback loop.
As you may notice, this quick iterative feedback loop proved invaluable in tweaking things as we progressed under a looming deadline.
- Despite a tight deadline, user feedback is still possible to ensure a more successful product.
- A rapid, iterative feedback loop is necessary when delivering on such short projects.
- The iterative design process enables the development team (in this case, one individual) to begin as early as possible, so when a design is complete, it’s only a matter of some CSS styling and tying up a few last loose ends.
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