Initial research, concept ideation, sketching, wireframing, prototyping, visual design, usability testing
Clay Cardozo, UX Designer
Lisa Shin, UX Designer
Google Drive, Trello, Sketch, InVision, Optimal Workshop, Keynote
Support Link is a mobile application that leverages human connection to enhance disaster relief.
Our team was given the topic, Social Good & Community, and was assigned to design a solution to a problem space within this topic. We ultimately decided to focus on addressing the needs of those who seek to help survivors of natural disasters and crises, as well as the needs of the survivors themselves.
The number of people that require help continue to expand, and also the range of needs that need to be addressed.
Current relief efforts are mainly focused on providing supplies and vital services, while the mental stability of those who have gone through these traumatizing events is still in question.
HOW MIGHT WE
How might we leverage the desire to help to provide encouragement to those overcoming this trauma?
Support Link provides a space for impacted individuals to have personal connection and attention as they move through their recovery process, while individuals who have the desire to help can be assured that their good deeds have an impact.
The introduction of Support Link gives impacted individuals and supporters an opportunity to be matched and engage in one-on-one conversations with each other. This ensures that individual attention is given to survivors that need it after the initial stage of recovery.
We found it ideal for Support Link to collaborate with the American Red Cross to support their initiatives.
The gap between impacted individuals and supporters creates space for an opportunity to better serve survivors and the overarching initiatives of the American Red Cross. The needs of impacted individuals shift toward emotional support and connection as time passes, and supporters want additional ways for meaningful involvement beyond monetary donations and in-person volunteering. The American Red Cross seeks more regular engagement by supporters. Our platform will extend supporter involvement beyond reactionary donations to ongoing remote volunteering, delivering a solution to the individual connection that survivors need, and increasing engagement with the American Red Cross' platform.
We started off with a screener survey to find potential interviewees that have either been a survivor or a supporter of natural disasters/crises or both.
The goal of this survey was to seek out people that are willing to share their experiences as a survivor, a supporter or both.
Our team conducted interviews with 7 individuals from across the nation.
In total, we received 13 survey results and interviewed 7 of those respondents. These interviews were done to help us learn more about the experiences of survivors and supporters of natural disasters and crises. We understood this may be a sensitive topic to many, so we kept that in mind while we came up with the questions we were going to ask.
RED 👉🏻 SURVIVOR 🗺 BLACK 👉🏻 SUPPORTER
Here are the key insights we discovered from those 7 interviews:
PERSONAS & JOURNEY MAPS
With the user insights from our interviews, we created 2 personas that embodied the archetypes of our user group.
First, is Laura, an individual who seeks help after a hurricane devastated her neighborhood. Then, there is Jay, who wants to provide help to those who have been affected.
Our team mapped out both personas' coexisting journeys, starting from when a hurricane hits Laura's neighborhood to the recovery period. We considered their actions, feelings and pain points throughout the experience.
Laura wants personal connection and attention as she moves through her recovery. Meanwhile, Jay is concerned that he did not do enough, now that the news has died down and his budget has grown tighter.
How might we match Laura's need for personal interaction and validation of her experience with Jay's desire to provide meaningful non-monetary support from afar?
Our team prioritized several features for the mobile application, based off of user insights from the interviews.
The features were decided based upon the needs of our user group at different phases of recovery. This process led us to our MVP, and that is the one-to-one chat for support feature.
We identified the key design requirements as a team to ensure we design with the same goals in mind.
Here are the key design requirements we agreed on:
As a team, we decided to design for Android because about 85% of smartphone users are Android users globally, and thus, our app would cover a greater demographic.
Our team conducted 2 rounds of design studio to consolidate our ideas for the essential screens through low-fi sketches.
During design studio, we individually sketched out ideas first. Then, we converged and refined these ideas as a team to create the final layouts for the essential screens, which were the following:
Survivor's and supporter's landing pages
Making a donation
MID-FIDELITY WIREFRAMES & PROTOTYPE
With the finalized screens, we created mid-fidelity wireframes of the app and put together a prototype for our first usability testing.
The goal of the mid-fidelity prototype was to test whether the flow is intuitive for actual users before we invest ourselves in the details.
INITIAL USABILITY TESTING
We tested our first prototype on 5 different participants to gain insight into whether the flow is intuitive for actual users.
The participants were asked to sign up and customize their features on the app, make a donation to Hurricane Clay, and connect with a survivor and start a conversation. Through these tasks, we were able to collect feedback on our app.
We created a style guide to present the official colors, typography, logo and assets that will be used for the app.
Our team decided to align the color palette and typography with the theme of the American Red Cross, our potential business partner. Since we are designing for Android devices, we utilized Material Design for Android to standardize the screen layouts.
Based off of initial feedback, we made changes to the design and brought it to high-fidelity.
When designing at high-fidelity, we focused on creating a harmonious user flow and prioritized the key features from user feedback. The style guide was used as reference.
FEATURE 1 OF 4 – REGISTRATION PROCESS FOR NEW USER (SURVIVOR-END)
With the users' insights in mind, we shortened the registration process and gave them the ability to prompt an overlay for the additional questions that are relevant to each option.
FEATURE 2 OF 4 – ONBOARDING
To help users with the onboarding, we provided an onboarding guide for a first-time user on the survivor-end. With the users' insights in mind, pictures and color were added to make the 4 buttons more prominent.
FEATURE 3 OF 4 – MAKING A DONATION
Supporters can contribute to a specific event. When making a donation, they are given an option to either make a one-time donation or a monthly monetary donation. This way, they can get involved and stay within their budget.
FEATURE 4 OF 4 – ONE-TO-ONE CHAT
A supporter can give one-to-one emotional support to a survivor through messaging conversations. They are matched according to their wants and needs, which they filled out during the registration process.
USABILITY TESTING 2
Again, our team gathered 5 different participants to test our prototype to gain insight into whether the user flow is intuitive for actual users.
With the high-fidelity prototype, we sought to validate the changes we made to our design based on feedback from the initial user test. The tasks remained the same. Overall, feedback was more positive. We were able to validate our changes and design. However, there was also indication that further revisions need to be made to ensure an intuitive experience for actual users.
With Support Link, Jay's desire to help is matched with Laura's need for connection, creating a more sustainable pattern. In order to provide a more intuitive experience for users, like Jay and Laura, our team recognizes that further steps need to be taken.
Some considerations we had include:
Focusing on privacy for the screening process and conversations so the appropriate age group will be active on the app
Adding accreditation for payment security purposes
Improving the process of starting a conversation between two people
Planning an eventual iOS app release to fit with the current Red Cross app suite
Adding prompts for download on the American Red Cross site
Developing Support Link was quite a challenge for our team given the sensitive topic.
Personal wants and needs have to be put aside in order to create a genuine experience for the users of our product. At the initial stages, it was difficult to not have our own input about the features, but we were able to overcome that challenge by putting aside our opinions and having an empathetic mindset. This experience made me realize the importance of the users.