Startup Weekend - 912 Alerts Mobile App for emergency response
One evening I was returning home from work, I walked into my apartment when I heard a scream outside. I ran to the window to discover the giant electric gate next door had closed in on the neighbors wheelchair trapping her leg.
I ran downstairs and was able to connect with one of the neighbors who was able to open the gate.
I started to think about what the neighbor would have done if nobody heard her scream for help. How would she notify her immediate contacts about her situation?
This problem really resonated with me as it centered around designing a technology solution to facilitate a real life problem. A deeper thought led to a much larger socially impactful problem crowdsourcing affordable healthcare.
Some initial design thoughts were to have a single button which notified 5 contacts of an individuals GPS coordinates during an emergency. One button, one interaction, 5 Contacts notified through SMS.
Future thoughts led to explore other types of emergencies that could be reported, to provide the responder with additional critical information.
After conducting some usability research and testing, I learned that the first critical question responders ask for was 'What's your emergency'. This App directly addressed that challenge by providing it in the notification.
I decided to divide the button to include Fire, Theft, Medical, etc so a specific area could be selected and it would now report 2 critical data points in one interaction.
Following some further user research and testing, I decided to redesign the interface from one button to 9 buttons. Some of my thought process behind this design change came from the understanding that in a critical emergency situation a users finger would only have a small selection area requiring higher accuracy to select the right type of emergency.
By creating 9 separate presets, the user would have larger real estate leading to increasing the accuracy of capturing the right selection from the user.
I also included some accessibility considerations through color schemas and large icons for types of alerts so visual and impaired could easily navigate alerts.
Further research included options to control sound/silence or notification intervals through a timer.
Another challenge I ran into was bypassing the lock screen, However, I did figure out a way to do this.
Another feature used Twitter API to post notifications to emergency services through twitter handles.