Military UX

Explosive Detection System


The Industry

Military & Defence

Our services

Digital products & Experiences

Project Timeline

Eleven Months

Our Deliverables

UI Design, User Research, Persona, Usability Tests, Readability Tests

Project Team

Andy Van-Fleet


Nick Bray

UX Designer

Every year, 5,000 people are killed or maimed by IEDs.

Soldiers are tasked with the dangerous job of uncovering these IEDs.

The Problem

The software is critical to the soldier’s mission and it wasn’t working with them.

Through our human-centered approach, we uncovered three key problems in the rudimentary touch screen.

Low Readability.
The bright sun washed out the old color scheme, which made screen readability difficult.

Lack of Hierarchy.
The UI was cluttered with information and buttons that weren’t always needed.

Untrusted Analysis.
The system lacked historcial data, which assists real-time threat detection decisions.

Our Solution

Soldiers believed we increased their likelihood of survival.

  1. Prioritizing making mission critical items easy to identify
  2. Making historical data more usable for analysis
  3. Increasing the contrast to make the screen easier to read
  4. Testing prototypes early to close the gap on usability issues

When the government hired a third-party to test soldiers in the field, our redesigned UX received a System Usability Scale (SUS) score of 80 — 12 points above average!



points above
the global average

Survey Results

  • 93% of soldiers
    would like to deploy with the new system.

  • 100% of soldiers
    felt the new system enhanced their ability to perform the intended mission.

  • 93% of soldiers
    felt the new system had greater detection capability.

  • 87% of soldiers
    felt the new system provided greater precision marking capability.

  • 87% of soldiers
    felt the new system reduced workload.




detection analysis screen real estate

Actions & Menu

We prioritized making mission critical items easy to identify:

  • Alerts were placed at the top of the screen and controls at the bottom to clearly separate cognitive input from user action
  • The new design increase detection analysis screen real estate 33%, a need identified and tested through user research
  • We made historical data more usable for analysis.

  • Visual cues were added for contect, making it easier to identify the exact threat location
  • Historical data helped confirm actual threats from non-hazardous debris.
  • 50

    Readability tests to ensure a rapid response

    We increased the contrast to make the screen easier to read.

  • We studied Relative Luminance Value to establish color combinations that worked in bright light
  • We performed over 50 readability tests – both indoor and outdoor – to ensure soldiers could analyze threats with clarity
  • We tested early to close the gap on usability issues.

    "Hanging off the back of the armoured vehicle and user testing the UX with soldiers was extremely important. Watching them and walking in their shoes gave us critical insights that helped us make sure the experience we created would have a direct impact on saving lives."

    Andy Van Fleet

    Partner & UX Strategist

    Since the initial release, the user experience has been ported to multiple projects due to its overwhelming success. Operators have praised the user interface for ease of use...future planning has it being fully integrated on the company’s flagship product."

    Arthur Fernandes
    Program Manager, NIITEK

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