Fall 2021

Project Overview
Carbon Pathfinder is the first product to be offered as part of the JLL/Technologies Sustainability suite. Pathfinder is a tool to help model and visualize the process of bringing a portfolio of buildings to net zero emissions. This is done through a series of inputs and estimations on actions that can be taken to decarbonize a particular building, or set of buildings, over a set period of time, measured against international standards such as the CRREM target system.

When I joined the JLL/T team back in November of 2021, Pathfinder had just been given the green light to be turned from hackathon project into a full-fledged product. As such, I have had the opportunity to be involved in the design of Pathfinder from the beginning. As the lead designer for the product, I have been responsible for crafting the entirety of the visual and user experience of the product. This has all been done in close collaboration with my project manager, Chris Segerblom, and a team of very talented developers, most frequently Francisco Peralta and Maria Uyeda.

from idea to reality

I joined the Pathfinder team shortly after they had been given the green light to take the initial hackathon idea and make it a consumer product. The next step was to create an Alpha version of the product for release to internal JLL employees. From the hackathon, we had a rough interactive prototype site that was essentially a basic proof-of-concept. There were quite a few outstanding questions such as:

     •  Which audience(s) might use Pathfinder?How does Pathfinder fit into the broader narrative of sustainability and          commercial real estate?
     •  How do sustainability consultants currently create predictive models?
     •  What specific tools and techniques do they use?

Starting with these questions and the proof of concept prototype, I worked closely with my project manager and one of JLL’s senior sustainability consultants to unpack the in’s and out’s of commercial-scale modeling. Over the course of several weeks and many interviews with the consulting teams at JLL, we learned that consultants primarily created complex models in Excel. The challenge with data-intensive analysis in UI is incorporating the power of Excel, without forcing the user into spreadsheets. We wanted to maintain the easy of use and calculation that Excel gave consultants, but make the UI more usable by a less technical user type.

The Carbon Pathfinder hackathon prototype


The other challenge in creating this modeling system was allowing the user to flexibly add and remove individual entities within a Scenario easily. In addition, they needed to be able to manipulate the state of Buildings and Actions within a Scenario at-will in order to pinpoint the exact effect that adding or removing an entity would have on the overall route to decarbonization. Eventually I settled on a nested tile structure in a side-by-side view with charts and hero figures representing total decarbonization. At the top level, the Scenario view, the tiles represent Buildings. Dive one level deeper, and the tiles represent Actions. These tiles can be toggles on or off with one click, and the charts on the right update to reflect the resulting changes to the net zero pathway.

Visual design enhancements

A few months into the Pathfinder alpha project, a larger initiative was introduced to create a design system across JLL/T’s Revenue division products. I volunteered Carbon Pathfinder as the guinea pig product. As a result, a near complete overhaul of the visual design was needed. I worked closely with several Revenue designers to apply the new design system principles to Pathfinder, while also providing feedback and inspiration for new elements.

The result was a much cleaner and more functional UI. Some of the notable changes included: new typography, colors, formalizing spacing grids, and considering tablet-sizing responsiveness. In addition, this overhaul provided a great opportunity to establish new working pattens with the front-end development team. Through the process of several key meetings and regular check-in's, we were to hone in on a system of design, hand-off, and implementation that improved the working relationship for all.

The new Carbon Pathfinder (from top left to bottom right): Scenario Level, Building Level, Creating an action, and the Building Manager