AURA Net Energy Platform

Situational awareness and remote management for distributed power systems

Research | UX Design | HMI Design | Rapid Prototyping

Ensuring power delivery to sensitive loads is essential, especially in mission-critical field and base power applications.

Our client had developed a deployable Stand Alone Power System. Configured with a diesel generator and battery storage these units were also capable of integration with wind and solar sources.

Working with the client we conceptualised, designed and built a prototype for a platform to allow operators to visualise and interact with the data across all deployed power units.

This proof-of-concept demonstrated how an intuitive interface with a focus on increased situational awareness, analysis and management can empower operators to make informed decisions to better maintain an assured supply of power.

My Role

Responsible for research, conceptualisation, IA, UX Design. Supported UI design and prototype development

The Team

2 UX Designers, UI Designer, Product Owner, Engineering SME


Defence | Critical infrastructure


Responsive Web | Figma Prototype

Lean Discovery

With a condensed timeframe and an ambition to validate our concepts early we took a lean approach to discovery.

Through a series of SME workshops, comparative reviews, desktop research and divergent ideation, we gained alignment on the needs, challenges, and data requirements for key system users.  

Putting a stake in the ground

After assessing user requirements and the potential feature set, we decided to focus on technicians as the core audience for our initial concept. Doing so allowed me to account for the best functional coverage while ensuring I kept the end-user front of mind in our concepts.

Rapid Iteration

Leveraging the insight gained and a healthy dose of desktop research to better understand the technical aspects of power generation and energy storage (both battery and fuel) I began to conceptualise, test and iteratively update experiences for the systems' technicians.

Feature mapping

Defining AI and categorising data points

Initial concepts

HMW show the data in a meaningful way

It was right about here that testing showed we hadn't quite nailed the whole power vs energy thing. So we set about making sure we did.

Let me explain with water... I know, but hear me out!

Power is a flow problem

How much water is coming out of the tap?

How much water is in the tank?

Energy is a storage problem

With that and other validation findings, I iterated my concepts and started to get detailed.

Getting detailed

I began to explore how to highlight concern areas

& leveraged best practice for SCADA* interfaces

"Dark and quiet" UI patterns allow areas of concern to shine.

* Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) applications are those that gather data in real time from remote locations to enable the analysis and control of equipment and conditions. Some common examples are grid scale energy control centres, rail control systems, and disaster management platforms.

Overlay allows easy access from multiple locations including map, sub-grid, and list view

Finalising concept design

I worked with our UI designer to finalise design


By focusing in on a core user archetype we were able to develop a prototype that allowed our client to demonstrate how an intuitive human-machine-interface (HMI) could empower operators with the insight needed to better manage, plan, and troubleshoot distributed power systems.

Don't take my word for it though... here's what we heard the solution could do during validation activities.


Improved situational awareness

Powerful at-a-glance overview of deployed power systems.

Remote management

Single intuitive channel for monitoring and management of distributed systems reducing operator effort and overhead.

Enhanced analysis

Improved and more accessible analysis of detailed metrics to better optimise performance and troubleshoot faults.

Planning and risk mitigation

A holistic view of key metrics supports effective planning, risk identification, and risk mitigation.

Final Thoughts

Designing this platform was a challenging yet rewarding exercise. Through research, concepting and testing I went from knowing very little about power and energy systems and the people who work with them to being able to empathise with and design solutions that empower their tasks.

What's more though is that this project highlighted the value of collaboration and a test-and-learn culture. By embracing a diversity of thought and experience and a no stupid questions mindset we were able to deliver real value for our client within a rapid timeline.


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