A mobile platform to connect students in Indiana University to available safety resources
ROLE: Market Research, UX/UI Design
DURATION: 24 hours | Nov 2017
TEAM: Jessie Tao, Benjamin Stern, Ritika Mehta
ABOUT THE PROJECT: This concept was created during an annual 24-hour Deloitte StartUpIU entrepreneural pitch competition. Our team placed 2nd out of several competing groups.
How can we reduce risk of danger for students at the Indiana University campus?
Indiana University's rate of crime has steadily increased each year on the Bloomington campus, especially in relation to sexual harassment and assaults, much to the distress of incoming student and parents alike. Although many safety resources are available to students, many are unaware of what IU has to offer.
A mobile platform to connect students in Indiana University to available safety resources
Create an application that both engages that student with IU resources and combats the rising crime in Indiana University by integrating the concept of IU Bloomington Alerts into a mobile platform that puts all of IU's Health, Police Department information, and Blue Lights in one place. The app will better protect students and Bloomington residents, promote awareness of crime, and connect students to safety information with the touch of a button. It will ultimately be a more efficient version of the outdated IU Alerts System to increase safety awareness and allow students to easily report crimes (with the ability to send pre-written emergency texts to emergency contacts with a pin of user's location) without the requirement of data and wifi.
What type of resources are available on campus to Indiana University students?
Before digging into the project, we set a reasonable target schedule and tracked time spent on each aspect in order to make sure we didn't concentrate too much energy on one task. Due to time constraints, we followed the lean UX design thinking process and took a user-centric approach to create designs that were backed and supported by user research and feedback. We had to be fast and fluid with our ideas and assumptions in order to conceptualize a solution, and validate our assumptions later. Our schedule followed as:
Hours 2 - 3: User research (research cases; survey users; determine user goals and journey; analyze data; brainstorm)
Hours 2 - 4: Ideate and design (wireframes, sketches, low-fidelity mock-up)
Hours 3 - 4: User testing (High-fidelity mock-up, usability tests, reiterations)
We first researched the severity of the issue and then analyzed our findings. Neighborhood Scout reported Bloomington to have one of the highest crime rates in the nation, ranking over 140 crimes more than the national median (and Indiana’s average amount of crimes). On a scale of 1 to 100 (with 100 being the safest) Bloomington scored a whooping 11, meaning that it is only safer than 11% of cities in America.
We then researched IU's active measures in reducing crime, and tried to figure out why they are not functioning efficiently and what could cause such a low score. We realized that many helpful resources that could help alleviate these problems already exist. My team and I were unaware of what all IU has to offer its students, as many of us tend to be. Then, our main concern was collecting and compiling all of these resources and brainstorming ways to improve the efficiency and awareness of them. Our main questions and goals to solve were:
How can we raise and improve student awareness on the available resources that Indiana University offers its students? (Blue Light, IU Health, IU Urgent Care, IU Alert System, Safety Escort—Tap Rides)
How can we improve the current IU Alert System’s efficiency to reflect real-time updates? How can we make sure these alerts, which are often overlooked due to a multitude of voice messages and text spam, are more consistent and less repetitive?
Survey college students and their experience with safety
Once we developed a better background in regards to safety, we each surveyed 5 first-year students, sorority members, and fraternity members to get a deeper, contextual understanding of the issues that students face. We narrowed it down to these user groups because they are most relevant in terms of using an on-campus resource app. Having gained a better understanding of those issues, we analyzed our data to find user touchpoints.
We then researched the main areas of crime that could have given Bloomington such a low rank safety. Through user research, we found that a leading cause of crime was rising sexual assault rates. From this information, we immediately brainstormed the main aspects of safety we could improve upon on.
Reported cases of crime —> report crimes by proactively sending pre-written emergency texts and location to pre-determined emergency contacts
Psychological issues —> How can we decrease rising rates of anxiety, stress, and depression among college students?
Deriving consumer insights from surveys
Common pain points
>> I don't feel safe walking around campus late at night which is difficult when I have late-night meetings with classmates or for extracurricular activities
Some people will usually call a friend or roommate to pick them up to stay cautious
Depending on the situation, if no one answers, they will either call a car, take the bus, or just walk
>> I don't answer the IU Alerts phone calls or read the emails, but I will usually read the text alerts
People find the current system annoying especially because it reports all crimes, whether it is major cases of sexual assault or minor cases of petty theft
IU Alerts describes the location of the crime, but most people are not entirely sure where the area is unless they have been around that street
Bottom line: inefficient, outdated IU Alerts system
>> In an emergency, I don't have time to use wifi or data to research what to do or where to call
People do not know the resources available around campus or have to research it to find it
In case of emergency, the biggest issue is timing; it is difficult or scary to text people if you think you are being followed
>> I do not like to go through the hassle of reporting crimes
Many crimes go unreported because of systematic issues
>> Connect students with TapRides, a free service that drops people off at locations around campus
People are unaware of this feature that IU offers for free; by inputting it into the app, they can easily access it and it will raise awareness of this service
>> Visualize high-priority and low-priority risks of current IU Alerts
Redesign the current IU Alert System in the app by visualizing location of crime on map
Differentiate high risk and low risk crime
Reduce repetition of crime real-time updates; allow student the option to "Learn More / Stay Updated" on crime reports or exit out of them
>> Send pre-written emergency texts with location without data or wifi
Connect with IU's safety services without internet
In cases of emergency, send pre-written emergency texts to friends and family with your location attached -- mitigate risk of lacking time to contact people in emergency
>> Easily report crimes as soon as they occur
Create a tab specifically for crime report
CLARIFYING THE PURPOSE
What are our major goals for this app?
Before digging into creating a design, we wanted to understand the users, their goals for using the app, main use cases and scenarios. User goals were mostly gathered from the talking to potential users of the app. We then consolidated the research into a few main goals and ranked priority.
Reach any available resource with the click of a button
Find crime locations and nearby Blue Lights
Report crimes easily
Contact friends and family in moments of danger
Utilize safety escort (TapRides) services
Walking home alone and feeling like you are being followed
Witnessing an assault and taking action
One major disagreement we had was whether this solution should be reactive or proactive. Our current solution of simply raising awareness of the resources that are already available was a proactive approach, but most students might not consider danger until it is actually happening to them. We had to immediately define what the app's purpose should be because we were currently mainly consolidating existing resources and redesigning its outlook. The addition of the pre-written emergency texts was our answer to take the safety one step further in cases of immediate emergency.
Identify core needs of students' safety
Based on the survey results, we created a provisional persona to help guide our decisions through the design process. We did not spend too much time in this area (the initial user persona and journey maps were pen-and-paper and did not include any of these illustrations; I only later re-vamped it for the aesthetic of this site).
Map out key issues and pain points
The journey map is meant to understand the user more clearly by mapping out a customer’s journey in the world and identifying key issues that arise in order to build a solution accordingly. (Again, this is a recreation of our initial pen-and-paper sketch of ideas).
Visualize the product by mapping out user flow
Synthesizing our research, we developed a basic prototype to illustrate the type of interaction we wanted the user to have with our application. Tools used: Adobe XD, Marvel
PROTOTYPING & TESTING
ROUND 1: HIGH-FIDELITY ITERATION & USER TESTING OF APP
Gain critical feedback from initial user testing
Once this basic UI prototype was developed, the next step was to conduct user tests. I asked 10 climbers between 18-29 of different backgrounds and skill levels around Bloomington to use the app.
This is the first draft of the prototype. The main purpose of initial user testing is to observe how the user interacts with the overall product, note their behavior, likes, dislikes, patterns, and preferences, and find areas to improve based on these observations.
Round 1 findings:
Users were not into the agenda on your profile idea. Although they would be able to adjust or shut off, the thought of putting out their entire availability schedule seemed invasive to their privacy. They are visually perturbed at the idea of having to go out of their way to go through their schedule and map out when they are available. Users also noted that their times for climbing are constantly fluctuating, so an agenda type of way to share available times is not reliable. They also did not respond positively to the layout and design of the agenda on the profile. (Bottom line, scratch the agenda!)
Users are prone to check their notifications first and foremost before doing anything else, since it catches their attention first. The messages and notifications being mixed together was confusing for users. Users want to access and check their notifications without being dragged to the Messages screen.
Users enjoy the categorizing of the Discover feature, but they would like to easily see the filter for discovering climbers.
Goals for Iteration 2:
Redesign a more comfortable way to share availability. Since this is the main purpose of the app, this is the foremost concern I will address.
Create a separate Messages button; redesign the notification as an overlay.
Create a very clear and visible filter for the Discover Climbers feature.
Interact with the most current, up-to-date version of this prototype
Strong first draft is a strong finishing product
The constraint forced us to simplify our process and move forward without validation in order to accomplish our goals in a timely manner. While sometimes on team projects we first go through a long feedback and analysis session before moving forward, and make multiple versions until we get to the final result, this time we only had one shot and had to be more confident and straightforward in our initial draft decisions. These experiments, hence, force you to be creative and concise.