Human Computer Interaction

CS 522

"Bachao" - Your personal safety application

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Conceptualization

Can we have a mobile app that can save us in a dangerous situation?

Bachao (Hindi for “save me”) is a mobile based application that the user can use in case of distress. The user must download, install and register with our application to enjoy its services. In case of an emergency, the user can activate an SOS signal which will alert the appropriate authorities.

After performing requirements gathering, based on a one-on-one interview with someone who has been subjected to crime, we have categorized danger into four levels and designed solutions for the same.

No Danger

The user faces no dangerous situation at all.

Low Danger

The user enters a danger zone, he receives a notification about past crimes that have occured in that area. He can chose to be tracked for the next couple of hours or opt for an alternate route.

Medium Danger

The user feels unsafe and has the ability to open the app and call 911 or alert his emergency contacts or ring a loud siren to ensure his safety.

High Danger

The user is in a very dangerous situation. He does not have the time to open the app and click on "Help". He triggers the call to 911 by clicking on the home screen widget which is easily accessible.

Core User Requirements

  1. The user may sign in to the app using login credentials.
  2. The user may view a short tutorial on what the app does.
  3. The user may view notifications from the app and also choose to stop notifications if he wishes to from Android app settings.
  4. The user may choose how many hours he wishes to be tracked for.
  5. The user may spot crimes in a particular zip code by clicking on the spot crime button.
  6. The user may send situation specific messages to his emergency contacts.
  7. The user may alert 911 through the app.
  8. The user may ring a loud siren to alarm his attacker through the app.
  9. The user may alert 911 through a home screen widget in case of a high danger situation.

Selection of Design Sketches

After performing three-level iterations on design sketches, we have narrowed down to seven main design challenges.

  1. Quick and efficient app trigger
  2. The app can be triggered using a home screen widget that has a button to alert 911.

  3. Different levels of emergency
  4. hi hi
  5. What kind of device?
  6. What features of the device can be used?
  7. How often the user will be tracked?
  8. How to reduce false positives?
  9. User is given an alternate route

Formative Evaluation

Performed Cognitive Walkthrough via paper prototyping.

Task 1 - Low Level Emergency

Users have Bachao installed and are entering a danger zone. They receive a notification about recent incidents that have occurred in the area. They choose to be tracked.

Overall Findings - We had decided to make the “Track Me” and “Alternate Route” Buttons more prominent so that it immediately catches the user’s eye.

Task 2 - Low Level Emergency

Users have Bachao installed and are entering a danger zone. They receive a notification about recent incidents that have occurred in the area. They opt for an alternate (safer) route.

Overall Findings - We won’t be highlighting the existing route.

Task 3 - Medium Level Emergency

User feels unsafe. She is walking home after work at night. She feels that she is being followed.

Overall Findings - Messages based on particular emergency situations will be added. Add tutorial of app in Settings tab.

Task 4 - Medium Level Emergency

User feels unsafe while walking home after work at night. She sees a group of people following her and wants to alert 911.

Overall Findings - Reduce unnecessary options. Have more situation-specific message buttons.

Task 5 - High Level Emergency

User was walking home, when he is suddenly pulled into a moving van. User gets an opportunity to click on the widget button to call 911, while perpetrator is trying to silence the victim.

Task 5 was highly liked by our users.

The Solution

Introducing "Bachao"

Summative Evaluation

Performed Summative Evaluation (Questionnaire) with two users. One has been in a crime situation before and one has not.

USER 1 - Male, UIC Student(Been in crime situation before)

QuestionsAnswers
Question - Is the initiative delivering on outputs and outcomes as planned?(efficiency and effectiveness) Efficiency: Efficiency in a way the app is automatic trigger in case of emergency. Finds widget incredibly helpful. Effectiveness: Tracks location and alerts authorities with accurate location which is helpful.
Question - Are the (or were the) activities and their delivery methods effective? Are there aspects that could have been done differently?(process effectiveness) Effective features: Likes widget, direct alert. Features that can be improved: Interface can be wider and improved.
Question - Is the wider project story being told? What range of outcomes (intended and unintended) has the project contributed to – taking account of each of social, economic, environmental and cultural considerations (relevance and impact) Yes, given the crime alert that we receive 2-3 times a month, this app will have an incredible social impact. This app has the potential to save lives.
Question - How has the initiative influenced the appropriate stakeholder community, and what capacities has it built? (relevance and impact) The influence being better security, personalized security, reduced crime-rate.
Question - Is the project impacting positively on key groups and issues that have been identified as important in project design – particularly gender, indigenous, youth and environment? (relevance and impact) The UI of the app is not complex, which makes it usable for users of all age and gender groups.
Question - Is there evidence that the initiative is likely to grow – scaling up and out – beyond the project life? (sustainability) Yes, growing the app outside of UIC and pulling data from other databases to increase accuracy would be great. Instead of displaying old/fake news, displaying a live update would be better.

USER 2 - Male, UIC Student(Not been in crime situation before)

QuestionsAnswers
Question - Is the initiative delivering on outputs and outcomes as planned?(efficiency and effectiveness) Yes.
Question - Are the (or were the) activities and their delivery methods effective? Are there aspects that could have been done differently?(process effectiveness) Features the user liked: Considers all kinds of situations that can be faced by the victim. Not very complex to use. Features that can be improved: Improve connectivity between app users by using social networking. Build the app for other platforms also like ios.
Question - Is the wider project story being told? What range of outcomes (intended and unintended) has the project contributed to – taking account of each of social, economic, environmental and cultural considerations (relevance and impact) Yes, it will impact at certain levels. Enhancement of features and popularity will help make it more effective.
Question - How has the initiative influenced the appropriate stakeholder community, and what capacities has it built? (relevance and impact) Influence being better security.
Question - Is the project impacting positively on key groups and issues that have been identified as important in project design – particularly gender, indigenous, youth and environment? (relevance and impact) Yes. It helps people in general to feel safe.
Question - Is there evidence that the initiative is likely to grow – scaling up and out – beyond the project life? (sustainability) Yes it can extend its project life. I would like to invest.

Conclusion

After performing the summative evaluation, we found that our users found the app UI to be very simple and easy to use. It was going with the user's mental model.

Tasks were easy to perform.

The easy access home screen widget is a nice way to help a victim in a dangerous situation.

The design was minimalistic.

User control and freedom was good as the important pages of the app were always easily accessible on the top.

The app catered to the core user requirements in all levels of danger.

Future Scope

Use Chicago's ClearPath API to send tips. Currently ClearPath's API is needs an API key to enable using send tips (API keys are not available right now). Once the API keys are available, we would like to integrate this feature into our app, so that a witness or passerby can report a crime.

Expand outside UIC

Expand to other platforms

Expand and integrate more features into the application.