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Drilling Design
Industrial & UX Design for Oil & Gas

Project Aim

This project aims at revolutionizing the oil & gas industry with a brand new design for land-based rig control system. The project is driven by design thinking methodologies and the implementation of user-centered design and human factors design principles that will enhance the rig’s functionality, safety, and ultimately the overall user’s experience (UX).





Existing oil rig driller control consoles have become dated and are ineffective at providing a human-friendly experience for operators. Current control systems are overcrowded with third-party and external vendor equipment, controls, alarms, indicators, and many other modifications that interrupt and/or get in the way of the driller to perform an optimal job. The lack of standardization has contributed to the overpopulation of the system, completely disregarding equipment hierarchy and human factors. The different types of interfaces create confusion and make it very difficult to train new personnel. Anthropometrics are completely non-existent, and operators must accommodate themselves to maintain the required safety and operational capacity. The clutter created by all this additional equipment impedes the driller’s field of vision and has become a communication obstacle and a safety hazard for all operations personnel inside and outside of the driller’s cabin.

driller operating controls


Project Scope

The design process was divided into three stages: planning, development, and production.

In the planning stage, the design team identified the problems/needs/pain points that helped establish and identify the characteristics of our user-persona that would subsequently serve as our guide to map the design landscape. During this planning stage, the team was able to identify project limitations and constraints and also define the initial structure of the project.

Research, conceptualization, and refinement occurred during the development stage. The team processed all the research data and identified the most important design tasks for the team. Research data was obtained by means of interviews, on-site observations, surveys, focus groups, video task recording, and photography. Emphasis was placed in conducting a proper task analysis to have a solid foundation to validate the user’s needs and the project direction.



Digital Interface Design

A brand new digital GUI was incorporated into the new console layout




Target Objectives


Refresh existing AC Rig controls to improve instrumentation, information, and system reliability.

Incorporate ergonomics and human factors into the new physical console design.

Implement a new digital UI to replace/enhance/complement the physical interface.

Enhance safety and rig performance efficiency.

Enhance personnel communication and optimize alarm protocols.



Identifying User’s Needs

Extensive research was conducted out in the field in order to understand our user’s most important needs. While conducting research it was also discovered that certain components within the system could not be translated into a digital interface due to the nature of their functionality and human-machine interaction. The consensus of creating a new interface that would incorporate both physical and digital components was established during the discovery phases of the research stage.


Oil&Gas cross-functional team of engineers, developers, designers, and builders


High-Level Stakeholders

High ranked company executives were involved in the development of the new generation of ADR 1500 Class land-based drilling rig.

Developers and engineers

A highly diverse team of developers and engineers developed the new user interface directed by the design guidelines.

My role

I was the only designer working on this project and collaborating with the team. My primary tasks were to conduct the research and design guidelines for the application of design methodologies and principles into the development of the new rig class. I developed the new consol layout and created the guidelines for the new interface. My deliverables consisted of engineering-ready CAD files along with wireframes and high definition mock-ups of the UI.








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