Rootful

Creating awareness and reassurance of one's surroundings regarding Covid

Role

Researcher & Designer

Timeline

4 months

Impact

This was my final studio project that I created for Parsons School of Design

The Problem to Solve

We all know from the news that the number of Covid-infected people has been rapidly rising. We (some of us, at least), have been careful while we go around outdoors, but we aren’t actively conscious of the possibility of having infected people literally sitting at the table across from us at a restaurant, or touching that apple we are about to buy from the grocery store. Over time, the tension has died away and people are no longer super serious about the whole issue. I want to make information regarding the number of people (infected or not) who visit certain places in the city more obviously. The problem I would like to solve is - How can we ease people’s concern about contracting Covid when they go out?

Preliminary survey research for reasons people are concerned about Covid

Desk Research

I started off desk research intending to figure out what concerns people have regarding Covid. According to Ipsos, 47% of the country still thought of Covid as one of the biggest threat. I sent out a survey to a wide target audience regarding their concerns and it their thoughts on why Covid is concerning is mainly focused upon potentially causing others to become sick.

I was pleasantly surprised about how people were motivated to follow social distancing rules mainly for the sake of other people. It reminded me of two apps, Citizen and Waze. Citizen is an app that alerts people of potential threats around the user, and Waze does the same, as a navigation app geared towards drivers. This gave me the idea to produce a contact tracing app where people can help one another stay alert and informed of their surroundings by either looking at the live capacity/traffic of a specific store/location, or reporting a rough incident (such as rude, maskless people or a large crowd) that happened at a specific spot.

Citizen (left) and Waze (right) as my inspiration during my analogous desk research. Citizen app uses colors on different location to show urgencies of alerts, and Waze has the ability to let users report anything disruptive that drivers experience on the road, so that other Waze users can get notified.

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User Research

I created a questionnaire and found 5 target audience to conduct interviews with. I wanted to see what details I should include in the app. I did some synthesis on the results.

My 5 interview candidates

Snapshot of the synthesis I did

The main takeaways was that people are all concerned about passing Covid to another person, but would leave home regardless for mandatory and recreational tasks. Secondly, everyone wishes they can go out more often, but are afraid of meeting someone who doesn't comply with social distancing guidelines and get them sick.

A response from a healthcare worker saying how half of the country takes social distancing seriously, while the other half doesn't contribute to helping each other out.

Screen shot of my sketches, flow chart and journey map to determine how to improve my prototypes.

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Ideation and Prototyping

From the synthesis of my user research, I wanted to make sure that people can use this app to see the status of locations they care about/want to go to. Like Waze and Citizen, one can submit a sighting that they think the community should know about in case anyone wants to go to that location. Users can then confirm if the sighting is true, and anonymously comment on it. Finally, Users can also go back and look at the places they have visited, and the capacity/sightings at that location when they visited. The purpose of this feature is to document users' tracks in case hospital workers or friends/families need to look at it for some manual contact tracing.

Synthesis during my user testings - putting all the feedbacks into groups and coming up with meta analysis. I then implemented the finding into improving my next prototype.

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User Testings

  1. Submit an obstruction they saw at a specific location.
  2. See the live capacity and traffic of a store.
  3. Look and comment on another person's reported obstructions.
  4. Submit a positive covid test result, so people who the users have been near will be notified.

My lofi screens with feedback written out after user testing

In my mid-fi, the changes I made was:

  1. Adding keys/informative pop ups that can guide users through a certain feature that may be confusing to understand for first-time users
  2. Added a notification screen that shows people activities and interactions on their posts, comments, and alerts regarding their saved locations (e.g. if the location reached 50% capacity)
  3. Let users choose what they want to be notified for
  4. Opening up a report and reading up more on the problem/incident. Also, being able to edit their posts.

Notifications & Looking at a specific location's live information.

Tracing one's footsteps of the past 14 days

Sighting report flow - being able to add details to help the community.

An area watch list with Covid Data & Submitting a Covid Report

Here are the feedbacks I received from the midfi prototype:

  1. Toggling between two maps are confusing. I can consolidate the two maps and put them on the same screen.
  2. Report only positive covid cases rather than "potential" positive case, because that may cause unnecessary panic.
  3. Removing the "area watch list" because although it is a good concept, it doesn't solve my problem statement as much as my other features currently do.

Final UI

Main Screen: Getting ride of toggling between two maps into being able to see all data in one screen. Colors also correspond to the capacity number. A voice to text option is also implemented for faster use. With this, users don't have to search for what feature they want to use.

Each color represents a different level of live capacity.

Saved locations: users can quick-look at the capacity of a location they saved. Users can choose to be notified of the capacity change.

Submitting a sighting: Form is pretty much autofilled. Description is encouraged but not mandatory. This makes people have more incentive to submit sightings, since everything i already filled in and ready to be submitted.

Submitting a positive case: Also pretty much autofilled and makes the process faster.

Reflection

This is my favorite project I've worked on for class! I think it's because I am very accustomed to user interviews, testing, and affinity mapping. I felt confident ini utilizing all the UX research methods that I've been taught, and was able to refine this app into something I'm proud of.

If I had more time, I would want to keep working on the "post-pandemic" version of this app. So far, I've only created a small alternate screen, but I would love to see how I can make this app usable even when the world is back to normal.

Finally, I learned to CONSTANTLY get feedback. I was able to receive a lot of help and suggestions this time, actively participating in critiques and asking my professors for advice. The more people, the fresher the ideas. More brains the better!