What's Up? - Windows phone application concept
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What's Up? - Windows phone application concept

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Concept for Windows phone application to maintain information flow and connectedness during the first 24-48 hours of a disaster. This was in response to the ask: “Design a system to facilitate ...

Concept for Windows phone application to maintain information flow and connectedness during the first 24-48 hours of a disaster. This was in response to the ask: “Design a system to facilitate effective communication during National Emergencies, focusing on providing the necessary information and tools to stay safe, alive and connected for the first 24-48 hours following the disaster."

This project was done in collaboration with Microsoft, and was given honorable mention among 13 projects submitted.

My teammates for this project was Wenyang Dong. This is one of the projects for Marty Siegel's Rapid Design for Slow Change course at Indiana University Bloomington.

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What's Up? - Windows phone application concept What's Up? - Windows phone application concept Presentation Transcript

  • What’s Up? Wenyang Dong | Angélica Rosenzweig
  • Jenny moved to NYC last year. Most of her family and friends live in other cities around the US.
  • She lives in a dense urban area.
  • Before disaster
  • People rely in their close social circle Including family, friends, and acquaintances
  • She stays in touch with her close social circle.
  • She stays in touch with them via phone, email, skype, and social networks.
  • “I called my friend immediately when I lost power to see if he was on the same boat...” “The first person I contacted was my girlfriend…” “I called my manager because he’s lived in the city longer than me, to try to get insights on the situation…” -Testimonials from interviews Sandy victims
  • A hurricane approaches...
  • During the hurricane Jenny lost power, internet, and cell phone reception.
  • Contact with close social group is often lost during disaster situations No electricity, internet and phone network cuts ties with this social group during disasters
  • Problem Lack of connectivity (being disconnected) creates vulnerability and isolation during disasters
  • “I felt unsafe in my apartment because I could not communicate.” “My apartment became unlivable. It was not flooded and there was no immediate threat to my life, but if something happened to me, no one would know, or I would not be able to reach help… so I left.” -Testimonials from interviews Sandy victims
  • Jenny does not know her neighbors or those who live in the buildings across the street.
  • Strangers in the vicinity are part of a person’s network People are not entirely aware of all the individuals that share the same local context, like neighbors, store clerks, and people that are not normally approached.
  • “The day after Sandy hit, I went out to a grocery store close to my apartment...The owner told me power would be out for a couple of days!” “I went to NYU in hopes there would be power in that area, but I saw people were stocking up and leaving with bags. After asking I found out the school was closing the whole week...” “We talked to the guy that was standing on the road to find out traffic conditions…” -Testimonials from interviews Sandy victims
  • During disasters, local knowledge provides essential support for people “When large-scale emergencies happen, there is often no way to survive it in practical terms unless we rely on each other for help… some areas require local knowledge to convey precise information about what is happening and what neighbors down the road are doing.” [2] “Natural disasters create radically different circumstances from neighborhood to neighborhood, not just region to region.” [1] “We normally function using prior examples to guide us, but if a situation presents itself for which we have no prior examples… we look to others to lead us in how to respond.” [4]
  • Jenny and the “strangers” around her may be experiencing the same situation.
  • Core Bring to the foreground the existing network of strangers who share local context to maintain connectivity and information flow during the first 24-48 hours of a disaster. Assumption Shared geographic location provides common ground (context) in disasters
  • Jenny has her phone with her. She is trying to save battery power. And so are her neighbors.
  • Their devices and local context can bring them together.
  • They can be connected via a localized, yet decentralized mesh network.
  • The concept Create ad-hoc information communities during disasters using a mesh network that is localized -  Targeted to highly populated urban spaces -  Phone app that focuses on connecting people in the vicinity
  • Assumption Technology needed for mesh network already exists, and our concept assumes its already embedded in the device. http://alongthemalecon.blogspot.com/2013/03/cuba-likely-target-for-mesh-network.html
  • During the first 24 hours of the hurricane, Jenny stays in her apartment. Even though she has no power or internet connectivity since her life is not at risk.
  • She remembers an app that came preinstalled with her phone: “What’s UP?”
  • Home Screen Jenny tap on the “what’s up” Icon.
  • People Nearby Jenny is surprised there are 12 people near her.
  • Status Report It defaults into all off.
  • Status Report Jenny has only hot water, She reports that she has water.
  • Confirmation
  • Mesh view Jenny continues exploring the app, and notices she can view what other services people near her have and don’t have.
  • Status check feature During Sandy, a spreadsheet was created by neighbors in the Financial District [3] This served as inspiration for the feature in the What’s Up app.
  • It’s been 48 hours, and Jenny is concerned she has not reached out to her family. They must be worried about her. So she opens “What’s UP” to see who has phone service.
  • Contact others Jenny continues exploring the app, and notices she can view what other services people near her have and don’t have.
  • Contact others Jenny taps on a person that has cell reception and messages the person directly.
  • Contact others Jenny taps on a person that has cell reception and messages the person directly.
  • Anonymous communication The app does not disclose location or identity of the people contacted for safety reasons. Sharing location is a voluntary action.
  • Anonymous communication After she sends her message, she notices the message icon next to the person she contacted. This is to mark those she has talked to before.
  • Thanks to the friendly neighbor, Jenny heads out of her apartment to the area where she now knows cell reception is active.
  • After disaster
  • Once the local services have been restored into her area, Jenny can reconnect with her close social circle.
  • App overview
  • “What’s Up?“ APP - Creates a local mesh for people to connect with others around them - Allows self-report - Encourages reaching out to strangers during disaster
  • Evaluation Positive feedback: People understand the purpose of the app and can successfully report their status; Icons were simple to understand in the status report section ( power, water, internet and cell reception). Conducted usability test with 2 participants
  • Evaluation Future improvements: Participants were not sure if the mesh overview depicted directionality. The design was intentionally created to be different than a navigation map. We wanted to focus on the number of people around them and relative distance from them, without exposing the actual location of individuals. This indicates that further iteration is required to refine the mesh overview. Limitations We acknowledge that the test was not in-situ, and the participants were not in a situation where they required to contact strangers to gain access to electricity, water, internet or cell reception. As such, it is difficult to measure how successful this application would be during a disaster. It is possible that people may not remember that the application is installed in their devices and not use it at all during a disaster situation.
  • Roles Wenyang Dong - Primary research - Usability testing - Sketching, ideation - Storyboarding Angélica Rosenzweig - Primary research - Sketching, ideation - Wireframe
  • Thank you Special thanks William Yang Vasudha Chandrasekaran Sam Gazitt Marty Siegel Chung-Ching Huang HCID 2014 cohort Interactive Prototype: https://projects.invisionapp.com/share/G8JQORQD#/screens
  • Research appendix Phone Interviews (3 people) Questions: Where were you when the hurricane hit? Who were you with? Were you by yourself? Who did you contact first? Did you have access to water, food and other essentials? What was the role of communication during that time? Link https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1biKxBvHfYaM0IvIrO93qeGNwNu9eASMv8zCVHDsVsWQ/viewform
  • Research appendix Survey (8 respondents) Question: Where were you when the hurricane hit? Which of the following housing decisions did you make before and after the hurricane hit? Which of the following WAS essentials during the 24-48 hours after the hurricane hit? Which of the following did you MISS the most during the 24-48 hours after the hurricane hit? Please provide an example of a big decision that you made during this time. Which of the following factors contributed to your decisions during and after the hurricane? Link https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1biKxBvHfYaM0IvIrO93qeGNwNu9eASMv8zCVHDsVsWQ/viewform
  • Exemplars Help Bridge http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoftupblog/archive/ 2013/01/16/new-mobile-app-helps-you-get-help-andgive-help-during-a-disaster.aspx Scanner Radio Deluxe https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/scanner-radio-deluxe/ id498405045?mt=8 Life 360 http://www.life360.com/tour/
  • Literature review / Tech Using this kind of service how large an area can be covered? This type of service can scale quite well, and Commotion is designed to operate effectively with minimal setup or technical knowledge required. In most modern urban areas, a significant portion of the population is likely to own a mobile phone or WiFi device capable of extending the network. However, sufficiently large networks do require care and planning for smooth operation. A mesh network’s scalability varies greatly depending on the hardware used, the design of the network, and the network’s physical environment. Though they do not use Commotion software, two examples of large scale mesh networks are the Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network (AWMN) with over 1100 backbone nodes and over 2400 client computers and Spain’s Guifi.net, which has over 19,000 nodes. https://commotionwireless.net/download
  • Literature review / Tech Limitations of mesh networks How many users can use a single node? This will depend on the capacity of each different device, both in terms of simultaneous wireless connections and total bandwidth consumed by each user http://www.fastcolabs.com/3020680/how-to-build-alow-cost-wifi-mesh-network-for-emergencycommunication
  • Literature review / Hurricanes 1. What Sandy Has Taught Us About Technology, Relief and Resilience http://www.forbes.com/sites/deannazandt/2012/11/10/what-sandy-has-taught-us-abouttechnology-relief-and-resilience/ 2. A Vision for Technology-Mediated Support for Public Participation & Assistance in Mass Emergencies & Disasters. Palen et al
  • Literature review / Hurricanes 3. South Fidi & Battery Park Building Status https://docs.google.com/a/umail.iu.edu/spreadsheet/ccc? key=0AhcQj4VbdBzOdGFMZzdLUlVDQklsNTFETWE0UHp4WFE#gid=0 “Hyperlocal took on a new meaning in the Financial District, too–when the power grid came back online, only about 1 in 10 buildings actually had power. Shaila Ittycheria, a resident in the area, offered to start checking on residents, and a mini-movement via a simple Google Doc was born.”
  • Literature review / Hurricanes 4. Surviving disaster in a global technology age-Dr. David Wild