On-campus emergency calls are diverted through a grapevine of police officers and dispatchers. By the time an EMT receives a message about an emergency, he or she must drive to the scene, park, locate the patient, and collect background information. Precious moments are wasted when the patient could be receiving medical care vital to his or her survival.
ASAP connects university Resident Assistants (RAs) with EMTs during emergencies, improving efficiency by speeding up the process of locating each other, providing context prior to entering a situation, and decreasing time spent assessing a patient's initial condition.
All RAs become members of ASAP and remain signed into the site, streamlining access when confronted with an emergency situation. Meanwhile, the Res Life Office loads all students' information into the site prior to the beginning of the semester.
Research has shown that any prior training goes out the window during an emergency. ASAP solves for this by guiding users through a simple, step-by-step website to both report an emergency and receive instructions while waiting for medical help to arrive.
EMTs traditionally enter emergency situations without sufficient context about the patient, condition, or specific location within a dorm. By giving specific location details, ASAP helps EMTs locate patients to provide medical care as quickly as possible.
Binge drinking is the most common emergency situation dealt with on campus, and roommates and friends often get caught in the middle of it. Of 500+ calls to the CMU EMT, over 100 were for intoxication alone.
CMU leaves ambiguity around sanctions for underage drinking which exacerbates a preexisting fear of calling for help. Resident Assistants are often the ones to intervene in an emergency situation related to drinking, as it is a job requirement.
Emergency calls are diverted through a complicated phone tree. By the time an EMT is dispatched, drives to the scene, and parks, he or she has to navigate through a complicated student dorm to find the patient.
We decided to diverge from our original user group (students) and focus on RAs as our primary users due to uncertainties about fellow students being intoxicated. We mapped out EMTs & RA journeys in the context of helping an intoxicated student who needs medical care.
With both our customers’ and service providers’ journeys mapped out, we were able to see overlap between their unique pain points and begin to envision solutions.
We envisioned scenarios relevant to our personas with responsive web solutions. We translated these scenarios into storyboards for speed dating to validate needs we had identified through research.
Speed dating ensured that we would not create an unadoptable or inappropriate solution, allowed us to abandon bad ideas quickly, and adjust our storyboards on the fly.
Through wireframing, we better understood what elements to include and exclude from our interface. We were able to test out many different ideas quickly, figuring out an optimal layout for our users.
Wireframes informed the logical steps in ASAP's process, and determined the order of our screens. Testing out low-fidelity mockups taught us to include "next" buttons on screens in which it could be easy to make a mistake, but leave it off of confirmation-only screens.
User testing taught us what worked and didn't worked in terms of button placement, color, typographic hierarchy, and wording. Over time, our designs became more polished and straightforward, focusing on functionality and simplicity.
Action: Show only one necessary action on each page.
Rationale: Minimizing content reduces users' cognitive load, allowing them to move through the website more quickly and accurately.
Action: In line with Fitts' law, make buttons large and easy to click. Use a large pt size to improve readability.
Rationale: Speed is everything in an emergency. Optimize all content for fast usage.
Action: Rephrase text to add context; i.e., "is the student" & "dorm".
Rationale: Make it incredibly clear that the system is campus-specific, and knows exactly where students needing help are located.
Action: Give users an idea of where they are within ASAP's system through a progress bar.
Rationale: A progress bar reassures users and reinforces the site's efficiency.
We decided to implement cool colors and a dark, tranquil top banner to calm down users in an emergency situation.
We were given the broad category of emergencies at the beginning of this project. By narrowing our project scope down to roommate emergencies on campus, and then further focusing on the window of time directly following an emergency call, ASAP became tremendously easier to design.
Working within the context of emergencies was a unique design challenge. Unlike typical design projects, our team focused on getting the user out of our site as quickly as possible, to confront the real-life scenario taking place. We integrated psychological concepts including Fitts' Law and progressive disclosure, into our design to maximize usability.
Instilling trust was a primary concept throughout our design process. By integrating features such as automatic sign-in and a thorough onboarding process, we provide users with the relief and knowledge necessary to manage the difficult situations unfolding in real time.