CONVOY is a wearable device and an app for women to feel safe walking at night 

2019

An app and a wearable device that suggests safe routes according to crime data. The wearable device guides users to the desired destination by using voice and haptic interaction.  Users will also be able to search for information about neighborhoods and join communities in order to receive that community's latest crime and news stories.

Duration: 4 months 

MY ROLE 

Product Design, Wearable Device Design, UX Research, UX/UI Design, Hardware UX

TOOLS

Figma, Rhinoceros, Keyshot, Photoshop, Illustrator, 3D Printing, Arduino

convoy

.

 

PROBLEM 

Our main aim is to design a system/product for young adult women who walk alone at night to reach their desired destination. This system will allow our users to feel safer when walking alone at night. 

In the United States, 45% of women report they do not feel safe walking alone at night, as compared to 27% of men

Socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and age can increase the levels of anxiety experienced when walking alone at night. Women tend to arrange their plans to occur in daylight, walk different routes, and do not attend events at night to stay safe. They feel the urge to let their friends and family know when they arrived at the desired location safely

 

Despite the high statistics and adverse effects of this problem, a robust product or a system does not currently exist. Prevailing products fail to assist, protect, and provide a feeling of safety to individuals. Furthermore, since some of these products are integrated with sensitive networks such as law enforcement or an individual's family and friends, a simple error caused by the products potentially causes highly consequential problems.

Reliability

Current products are fail to provide information about the state of the product. Lack of feedback and communication.

Complex

Product interfaces didn't designed for emergency situations. The interaction is either take a lot of time or the language is too complex to understand.

Error Tolerance 

Users are hesitant to use the emergency features of the products because once they activate it they can't cancel

USER RESEARCH

 

In order to understand our user group better, we have conducted various user research methods such as surveys and semi-structured interviews.

We have interviewed nine female participants to understand their perspectives and thoughts about walking alone. Semi-structured interviews and open-ended questions were employed as our interview method to facilitate open-ended discussions while gaining information related to specific topics. During the interview, we asked our participants to write the things that make them feel safe/unsafe and what actions they take when they feel uncomfortable. 

To understand our data, we created an Affinity Map. It was interesting to see the groups that formed which we didn't anticipate. Many of our users The pain point “Must change behavior to stay safe at night” had the most sticky notes, while the pain point “Sometimes contacting people distracts you” had the least sticky notes. Most of our users don't want to carry items in their hands and don't prefer to be distracted by their phones.

Understanding Data Affinity Map

 

UNDERSTANDING USERS

 

The data that we obtained and analyzed by the affinity map helped us to create user personas, empathy mapsjourney maps, and task analysis. In this way, we aimed to go deeper into their experiences, thoughts, and emotions by giving our users "a voice".

Task Analysis Example

Journey Maps

DESIGN ALTERNATIVES

 

Pain points

Our team took the data from the interviews, surveys, and the resulting affinity diagram to develop insights, user requirements, design criteria, and priority levels of each insight moving forward. From the affinity map, we found 19 major pain points that all were unique in their situation, contexts, and relevant to the original problem. We decided that there were six insights that we wanted to concentrate on moving forward. 

01

Being unfamiliar with an area makes women unsafe

Being able to connect with other people helps our users to feel safe

02

03

People don't reach out to the police when they are uncertain that they are in danger

Users want to reach authentic crime information of a neighborhood

04

05

Users want to know about the different qualities of an area which makes them feel safe (ex. illumination)

People prefer to be closer to the areas that are more crowded

06

Brainstorming

To come up with a wide range of ideas we engaged in an informed brainstorming session keeping our pain points on the mind. After our session, we placed each design idea to a creativity/feasibility chart to select the three ideas considering their cost and requirement of complex technology.

Potential Solutions & User Testing

After we narrowed down our ideas into three, we created low-fidelity paper prototypes to test them with our users and get their feedback. These sessions helped us to come up with the final design idea by highlighting the important features that they desire to have. Ideas and their feedback stated below.

Idea 1

Transportation App & Key Fob

SOLO is an application that comes with a corresponding key fob that has two modes: SOLO and DUO. By choosing SOLO, users can find a bicycle, scooter, or car that they can unlock and drive. By choosing DUO, users can call a rideshare service to pick them up. Users don't need to stand at a single location to meet with their driver. The driver finds our users as they keep walking.

STRENGTHS

They found the system easy to use because it has familiarities with other apps.

Provides two options 

 

WEAKNESSES

Users can't select the route and driver.

The system can be hard to use in an emergency situation

Using a phone to use the system can be distracting

Idea 2

Walking Buddy

This application shows other people nearby that are walking to a similar destination. Users can join trips and gain a group of walking buddies to accompany them to their destination.

STRENGTHS

Uses familiar location-based concepts.

Uses two modes of walking; individual or group walking.

 

WEAKNESSES

It doesn't focus on emergency situations.

Potential stereotypes that this application can cause.

Shallow method of picking groups.

Potential security concerns.

Crime Data & Wearable

Idea 3

This application enables users to reach crime data in an area and according to that, it provides safe routes. Wearable technology guides them without distracting them.

STRENGTHS

Not need to look at the phone

Familiar interface

Using existing information 

WEAKNESSES

New interaction

Security concerns

Privacy 

User Feedback and Final Design Solution

After our sessions, we have decided to combine different aspects of these three ideas into one design. Our final idea was:

 

An app and a wearable device that suggests safe routes according to crime data. The wearable device guides users to the desired destination by using voice and haptic interaction. Users will also be able to search for information about neighborhoods and join communities in order to receive that community's latest crime and news stories. Also, the system enables users to contact their loved ones in dangerous situations. These situations are coded as red and yellow alerts. When users being to feel uncomfortable they can activate yellow code to share their location with their contacts and when they are in a serious emergency they can activate red code to reach police and contacts.

ITERATIONS 

 

We conducted multiple design iterations in the light of the feedback that we received from our users and experts.  These iterations helped us to refine and improve our wearable design and phone application. Furthermore, we have conducted a participatory design session with our users to investigate the form and the design of the wearable design.

Iteration 1

Application Design

Our users loved the idea of knowing crime data and real-time news of neighborhoods. Furthermore, they stated that knowing even more detailed information could be helpful. This feedback encouraged us to investigate the easy ways of visualizing the data which our users can easily understand.

Their own selected neighborhoods were more important than recently searched neighborhoods hence we have later the interface in a way that our users can access their own neighborhood information more easily.

 

Onboarding screens were helpful and fun to our users. On the other hand, understanding the features of the wearable device and making the connection with the application was not easy for them. We have decided to include an interactive tutorial of the wearable device after this feedback.

Wearable Technology Design

Participatory Design

When we decided to design a wearable design that will help our users during their journey, we did extensive research about current wearable designs and our users. According to the information that we obtained, we made various sketches and designs which were briefly described in our previous report. On the other hand, we realized that including our users to the design process can help us to define the final wearable design and its form. Hence we have decided to conduct a participatory design session to widen our perspective.

Main Takeaways: 

Fingers, wrists, and forearms are the best places to wear a wearable device.

They have designed rings, bracelets, and earing considering the context and the features of the contexts.

They have used lights for indicating the different alerts rather than a detailed display

Initial Wearable Design: Convoy+

The wearable has a sliding component that users move to send red or yellow emergency alerts and see the red and yellow lights. The lights on Convoy+ glow, showing users that: 1) emergency alert has been activated 2) the wearable is turned on 3) battery level.

Detailed Indications 

  • The yellow and red lights glow to show users the mode that is activated.

  • If the red light is blinking, then the red emergency alert has been activated.

  • If the yellow light is blinking, then the yellow emergency alert has been activated.

  • The blue band lights up completely when the ring is activated.

  • The light begins to shorten as the battery life begins to run out on the wearable device.  

 

Convoy+ ring uses haptic and vocal feedback to give users directions to their destinations, tell users about alerts on their route, and provide updates to the user.  We utilized a ring because it is small, discreet and can be operated by one hand. We wanted a turning motion to activate alerts because users could do it quickly without other people noticing.

We modeled our first design and got the 3D print out to test the displays, interaction and the form of the wearable design.

 

We asked our users to perform tasks and we recorded any hesitations and confusions they expressed. At the end of the session, we administered the After Scenario Questionnaire as well as additional questions probing users about the comfort, understandability, and learnability of the wearable. Task completion success noted.

Main Takeaways:

Battery indication is not clear.

Red and yellow lights are easy to understand

Grasping can be hard

Turning motion is intuitive.

The additional tutorial can be provided

Users don't know the consequences of their actions.

Application Design

Iteration 2

1. Onboarding 

Our final application design provided more information about neighborhoods and safe routes. Furthermore, according to the feedback, we included a detailed explanation of how the overall scores are calculated. Our aim was being transparent so that users could feel confident when they are using the app. A tutorial process designed to help our users to understand how the wearables can be used. Information architecture revised and multiple tabs are eliminated.

Color schemes and logos changed to reflect the "serious" nature of the app. Wordings are simplified.

During onboarding, by selecting the neighborhoods users can reach their real-time news, crime data and the overall score of them.

 

Afterward, the app asks about what kind of qualities are important for them to evaluate the safety of an area (ex. light, maintenance).

 

Finally, they can import the contacts that they want to reach in an emergency situation.

2. Crime Data & Neighborhoods

3. Real Time News

Users can see different stories of the neighborhoods. Furthermore, emergency situations and ongoing instances' progress are provided to our users. 

4. Safe Routes

When users provide the location that they want to go, Convoy provides multiple safe routes that users can choose from. Each route has different qualities and ratings considering the overall score of an area.

 

Users can navigate by using their phones or by using the wearable technology; convoy + 

When convoy + is paired with the app it gives haptic feedback to users to navigate safely.

5. Wearable Technology and Contacts

Various information can be found on each neighborhood page such as overall score, street view, and news. The majority of the "overall score" is composed of police reports and a minor percentage is provided from our user ratings. The specific qualities of an area that been selected by our users during the app's onboarding also displayed. The crime graphs designed to be easy to understand and under each table source is provided to increase the credibility.   

On the app a tutorial is provided to helps our users to understand the usage of the wearable. When the selected safe route uploaded to the device it begins to navigate them by using various stimuli; sound, vibration, and lights. By using the wearable device or the app users can contact the people who are assigned to different alert modes. The yellow alert is designed for users to activate when they begin to feel uncomfortable and when it is activated the location of the user will be shared with the contacts. The red alert should be activated when users are in serious danger. In this state, the police, as well as contacts, will be informed.

When users are navigating the safe route that they have selected if an emergency situation happens close to their location, users will be informed and the system will re-route the safe route. 

Wearable Technology Design

For wearable device, various shapes and designs modeled using Rhinoceros software and 3D printed. The displays revised according to the feedback from iteration 1. Instead of providing two different LEDs for red and yellow alerts we decided to use one LED that can be changed to both red and yellow. A green light added to indicate that the device is on and neither of the states are activated. The size and turning motion revised to provide a more comfortable grip.

Interaction and Activating the Alerts

Alerts can be activated by turning the inner ring of the wearable: 

This state is indicated by the green light. It means that the wearable is ready and any of the alerts are activated. 

0 degree: Passive State

When the inner ring turned 90 degrees the light turns to yellow and the device vibrates. In this alert, the location of the users shared with assigned contacts.

90 degree: Yellow Alert

When the inner ring turned 180 degree the light turns to red and the device vibrates. In this alert, the location of the user and an emergency alert shared with assigned contacts and the police.  

180 degree: Red Alert

Haptic Interaction Tests

We conducted three tests to test our haptic feedback method. We used Arduino and vibration motors to simulate the vibration that the device will provide.

Main Findings:

For an indication of turning right, two subsequent vibrations and for turning left, one vibration was used. These indications successfully identified by users.

The 2-second delay between vibrations was required.

We used five subsequent vibrations as an indication of an emergency. This was confusing for our users because they thought that they were left or right indications back to back. According to this finding for an emergency, a longer vibration can be used instead of short subsequent vibrations.

The required optimum power of the vibration motor that our users can feel, couldn't be defined.

Restrictions: 

We couldn't implement the vibration motor to our prototype due to the size restrictions. Consequently, vibration tests couldn't be conducted in the context. There is a great possibility that the findings mentioned above may change in real-life settings. 

FINAL EVALUATIONS

 

In the last step, to evaluate if the outcomes match with our aims of designing the product, we have conducted expert-based testing and user-based testing using the interactive prototypes. 

Expert-Based Testing

Prior to user-based testing, we have conducted a Design Critique with an expert and asked him to analyze our system and give feedback on how much the current design meets our objectives. Objectives that we asked to be criticized:

  • Simple, serious and reliable UI design.

  • Efficient wearable design to contact friends, family, or local law enforcement. 

  • Easy way to learn about different neighborhoods.

  • Contacting loved ones or local law enforcement quickly when in danger.

  • Clarity of showing the safest routes.

  • Connecting with other people when walking alone at night.

  • Connecting with up to date news stories.

Design Objectives

  • Even though UI is simple and clear, colors and fonts don't reflect the seriousness.

  • The wearable is nice for users to navigate without looking at their phones. On the other hand, it may not be necessary. Vibration haptic implementation to phones can achieve the same intention.

  • High-level information about neighborhoods is very helpful but detailed information and the source should be provided.

  • Alerts are very clear to connect with others but in an emergency, the situation going into an app may be a problem. There should be a better way. 

General Critiques

User-Based Testing

We have conducted user-based testing with 4 participants and asked them to complete benchmark tasks. During their performance, we measured: Task success(Yes/No), task completion time and the number of clicks.

After each task, we conducted the After Task Questionnaire. After each session, we conducted System Usability Scale and asked them follow-up questions that tailored considering our objectives. 

  • Telling the status of the news story “Robbery at gunpoint”

  • Reading Midtown’s overall rating and the lighting rating of midtown.

  • Finding more detailed rating information about Midtown.

  • Telling how much violent crime is occurring on Spring St.? Is it higher or lower than the Georgia average?

  • Sharing location by using the wearable.

  • Please activate the red code by using the wearable.

  • Sharing location with the ring by speaking into the ring.

Benchmark Task Examples

  • Convoy's overall System Usability Score was 77. The average is considered to be 68 hence users were satisfied with the design.

  • Users found onboarding screens too long to follow and remember. 

  • Seeing only images and short descriptions of gestures of convoy+ in the on-boarding process was not enough for our users to remember them.

  • Turning motion was very intuitive but too easy. Users may be prone to activate alerts by mistake.

  • Scrolling took a lot of time. This caused our users to ignore the information displayed at the bottom of the page.

  • Users got confused when the menu bar and back button appear on the same page.

  • In the current design, stars represent the safety level but it may not be the best choice to demonstrate very precise data

Examples of the Results

Future Steps

  • Include a video tutorial

  • Make the codes harder to activate 

  • Add triggers to activate voice commands like "Hey Convoy!" instead of tap to talk.

  • Reduce the length of the onboarding process.

  • Reduce the amount of information provided within crime data

  • Clarify the wording of the different types of crime

  • Add time to safety alerts and allow safety alerts to pop up on the lock screen

thanks!

My special thanks to my amazing teammates who made this experience wonderful for me; Anjali Devakumar, Morgan Chin and Yujin Xue!