Building Powerful Solar Prediction Software
A Collaborative Process that Led to Powerful Results
Drawbackwards collaborated with the First Solar team to apply design thinking to the problem and create a life-changing solution. PlantPredict began with an extensive discovery process, followed by pairing UX experts from Drawbackwards with subject matter experts (SMEs) from First Solar to map out the major steps in building a power plant prediction. Using this roadmap, we separated the workflow into sprints so everyone could focus on one part at a time.
Drawbackwards’ team then worked side-by-side with First Solar on pair sketching, wireframes and design to get their feedback every step of the way. The close collaboration between our teams continued through development, with Drawbackwards managing front-end development and First Solar managing back-end development. All the while, we maintained constant communication to ensure the product was built and integrated properly.
The symbol above represents what consumer thinks about related to weather. To a solar engineer, it’s terrible. Rainy clouds covering up the sunny sky is bad for any clear-sky model. Getting to know PlantPredict users meant getting to know what not to communicate.
This symbol represents weather conditions to a solar engineer. To add comfort, delight and meaning to the interface we designed custom iconography that meets the user where they are at. Deeper empathy for users drives meaningful experiences with faster cognition.
The ROI Doesn’t Lie
With PlantPredict fully rolled out, First Solar engineers are already starting to reap the benefits of their easier-to-use, more accurate software, including: reducing the time needed to create a prediction from 3 hours to 30 minutes; 100% internal adoption within one month; decentralizing the prediction process from 3 people to 30+ associates; receiving the Business Enablement CEO Award for having the largest impact on First Solar’s success in 2016; increasing the close rate for new business; lowering risk; capturing hundreds of thousands of dollars in time savings; and more.