Absence of an automatic and accessible response system for when a woman suspects danger or feels uncomfortable and needs to feel a sense of comfort.
The process entailed thorough user research to understand the users needs through an empathy map. Tools like SWOT analysis and information architectures allowed me to develop user experience features, an accessible user journey and an appropriate user interface. Generating low to high fidelity prototypes post user testing resulted in the final outcome.
Designing a user-centric women's safety application with a response system that brings the user easement through animated feedback giving UI elements.
Riya, a teenager is walking home late in the evening. Since there is construction going on near the usual path she takes, Google Maps directs her along a path unknown to her. As she walks along that path which seems rather secluded and lacks sufficient lighting, she starts feeling uncomfortable.
The user feels unsafe and uncomfortable in the situation she is currently in.
In an anxious state of mind, the user does not have the ability to carry out steps like retrieving her current location, sending it to her contacts, messaging and calling.
severity of the situation
The user is in an uncomfortable situation. However the situation may escalate and become dangerous.
response based on the severity of the situation
Need for an application that provides different response systems depending on the severity of the situation the user might be in.
easy user flow
A response system which initiates a few base actions which require least user interaction.
accessible user interface
A consistent, accessible and bold interface. Choosing a colour palette that aids in providing a sense of security.
feedback to the user
Keeping the user informed of the actions being performed. This will give them a sense of satisfaction of being one step closer to safety.
With the help of bluetooth and Google Maps, this feature detects the users location within 3-5 seconds.
automatic - no user interaction
Upon initiating the 'feeling uncomfortable' response system, three base actions are performed one after the other not requiring the users interaction.
Upon location detection, the users location is sent to their emergency contact list, which they would have created in the onboarding process.
The app has an inbuilt audio recorder which gets activated. Upon activation, it records the situation for future evidence purposes.
DETECTS BUSY PLACES
This feature in collaboration with Google Maps, detects populated areas near the user, providing directions for the same.
The user may request a fake call which will be initiated by the app. The automated call asks the user questions making it seem like she is speaking to a someone.
The user may send out an SOS text message which will be forwarded to the nearest authorities.
interactive - requires users interaction
Upon completion of the automatic actions, the user must interact with the app to initiate further actions, based on their needs.
The following user flow allowed me to determine the sequence in which the actions will be performed by the user.
busy places near me
FEEDBACK GIVING FEATURES
As each action is performed, the blue colour on the top left becomes lighter. While the user may not be aware of this feedback, they are subconsciously being calmed as the colour gets lighter.
Designing a set a user interface elements that will give the anxious user constant feedback and a sense of comfort through animated elements and changes in colour.
FEEDBACK GIVING FEATURES
Upon activating the application, the user encounters two blinking buttons which act as a call to action, prompting the user to interact with app.
FEEDBACK GIVING FEATURES
As the action is being performed, the user receives feedback regarding the amount of time left for the the action to be completed. This gives the user a sense of satisfaction that they are one step closer to safety.
prototypes & user testing
Creating low, medium and high fidelity prototypes with simultaneous user testing.
low fidelity prototypes
User testing the user flow and UX features using low fidelity wireframes.
buttons to be centralized and feedback elements on the top left
difficulty understanding 'recorded call'
make the 'busy places' action more accessible (easy to read)
simplify SOS action by only keeping the text option
danger option is not needed
medium fidelity wireframes
User testing the UI features through medium fidelity prototypes.
simplify the design of the top left feedback giving elements
for the busy places interface there should be only one indicator of how populated the area are - colour or symbol
check colour contrast
make the maps interface in line with the interface of the app
buttons should have the same interface - stepped gradients
Considering all the feedback received and making the necessary changes.
Moved button element from top left to centre based on UI norms
Simplified top left feedback element. Checked timer text colour contrast. Removed fill from breadcrumb element 'location'.
Removed fill and allowed the symbol to represent the population of the place.
Transformed the map to match the apps interface.
Changed the position and style of the buttons based on UI norms and for consistency.
Diving deep into the context and user research
Designing an app for a user in a vulnerable situation required me to acknowledge the gravity of the situation. In order to design in a responsible and empathic manner, I understood the user through empathy maps, user journeys and surveys that I conducted among my friends in Delhi. This allowed me to picture myself in the situation and helped me brainstorm user experience and user interface features I would benefit from.
Understanding the importance of an iterative design process
Being exposed to an iterative design environment through this project, which involved going back and forth on ideas post cold reads, discussions and user testing, has made me appreciate the depth to which a designer must go to address usability concerns.
Being confident in design decisions if backed with research
The biggest challenge I faced was with my colour choice. Since disaster is equated to red and safety to green, my choice of using different shades of blue was questioned. However, having done my due diligence in researching about the positive psychological effects of blue in a panic ridden situation, I was confident in my decision.
Finding a consistent style to differentiate interactive elements from non interactive ones
In order to improve the learnability of the app, I would simplify the design decisions I took to separate the nuanced interactions. In order to do so I would reduce the gradients of blue I have used and restrict myself to 2-3 colours.
Working on the onboarding process
I did not get a chance to work on the onboarding section of the app due to time constraints. However, it is an important part of the app which will allow the user to set their preferred language and input their emergency contacts. This is necessary for when the user uses the app in an unsafe situation.
Explore advanced interactions to allow the user to enable the danger mode
I would like to explore the option of motion or audio sensors which would instantly activate the danger mode of the app, thus increasing its efficiency.