Define problem space
When natural or terrorist disasters strike, people in the affected area rely on relief organizations to act quickly to prevent further injury or death.
Help volunteer rescuers quickly locate victims.
Disasters have appeared at alarming rates recently. In 2017, 49 separate weather, climate and flood disasters were reported in the US.This is second only to 2012, in which 59 weather and climate related disasters were reported. Natural disasters have a tremendous effect on the well being of citizens in disaster areas and create problems for disaster relief agents. These situations create emergency call center traffic problems and during power and cell phone outages, communicating victim locations to professional rescuers becomes critical.
People want to help.
Local volunteers know the area, can use unique resources already located in the disaster area, and local volunteers know the community. Emergency responders should be familiar with their location so they can prevent becoming victims themselves. Using local volunteers in relief efforts can alleviate the immediacy for professional emergency responders and help professionals better allocate resources. However, volunteers must be organized; have the ability to connect to professionals; and have reliable geolocation information to best locate disaster victims.
Our Design: Our team realized that volunteers were a super valuable source of information for locating victims. Our design was focused on leading volunteers to victims using geolocation (GPS) tracking and last known locations for victims. After talking to a local fire department and EMS worker, we learned that knowing a situation before going to a location is invaluable. Our app allows local volunteers to relay this information to professionals before they are deployed.
We knew when Hurricane Maria would make land fall. With this app, the residents of the the Dominican Republic can create a profile with location, dependents, and medical information. This information is stored on FEMA's servers and is updated in real time as long as there is internet connectivity. When emergency services are deployed, volunteers with the app can help by being the first response for locating people in need.
After a few rounds of iterations, we settled on a design that allows the volunteers to call for help immediately in the case of becoming victim to the disaster, also.
This project was very fulfilling and my teammates were enthusiastic to build a solid project. We worked well together and thrived on each other's ideas.
My part: I mostly developed the high fidelity mockups and digital prototyping. The digital prototype was made in Adobe XD. Since my main skill is illustration, it is easy for me to make changes to designs so we can quickly test them with real people. Making changes during testing can give us better insights to what volunteers need during these stressful situations.