ASH

AUTONOMOUS SECURE HOUSING

An autonomous motor home that provides victims of domestic violence with temporary crisis accomodation and resources while transporting them to necessary services.

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Team

Benjamin Fleming

Nathan Judges

Beth Koulyras

Role

User Research

UX/UI Design

Prototyping

User Testing

Time

Late 2018

Tools

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INTRODUCTION

This was a design project I did at the University of Sydney in collaboration with Benjie Fleming and Nathan Judges. We were tasked with designing interfaces that enable users to interact with autonomous vehicles.

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DEFINE

Our group first brainstormed different problem areas exploring the ways in which people would interact with autonomous vehicles. We landed on an initial idea, though after some reflection and feedback from our tutor, realised we needed to expand our focus. We then mapped out another range of problems and this led us to the domain of domestic violence which we were all intrigued to explore.

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RESEARCH

After deciding on a problem area, we forumlated our research objective:

To understand factors involved with domestic violence in Sydney

Before beginning my research, I prepared a few questions that would form the basis of my inquiry:

1. What is the process for somebody seeking help at the moment?
2. What are the challenges people face when seeking help?
3. What systems or technologies are used by organisations in this process?

We spoke to police officers, social workers and case managers at specialised services to gain an understanding of our domain.

To begin my research, I conducted interviews and contextual observations with a case manager at Newtown Neighbourhood Centre who specialises in cases of homelessness in Sydney. I then interviewed a social worker at the Salvation Army Safe House who gave me an understanding of what it is like being there. My other group members conducted research with police officers involved with domestic violence in Sydney as well as social workers assisting victims.

To synthesise my research I used affinity diagrams, storyboards and personas. This helped me to narrow down the different user groups and needs. Most of my needs focused on victims so I based my analysis on them.

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Newtown Neighborhood Centre
SYNTHESIS

From here, our group needed to combine all of our research and utilised different techniques to help us come up with a concept.

This led us to three different user groups and their needs:

Responsive image POLICE Better communication between Police and domestic violence services, less division of technology in DV policing, trustworthy and safe digital tools
Responsive image SERVICES Better communication between DV services, trustworthy digital tools that integrate with legacy workflows, more avenues of housing for clients, less apathetic cultural attitudes towards DV
Responsive image VICTIMS Easier access to emotional, psychological, and financial support services. Safety and anonymity, accessible housing and better government services & policing
IDEATION
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After synthesising our research we began generating concepts. We used the forced association technique to generate as many concepts as possible and came up with over 60. This was a quick and easy method and meant we did not have to worry about how good or bad the ideas were.

We picked our favourite three concepts from the mix and decided to explore them further using brainstorming methods. This was very helpful in allowing us to expand on the three ideas. After exploring each one we storyboarded and made wireframes for them all.

After evaluating all of our results and testing our three ideas on users, the strongest concept came forward - the secure housing bus. This idea made solving our multi-faceted problem a possibility.

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SECURE HOUSING BUS
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MOBILE APP

An app a victim of domestic violence could use to order an autonomous secure housing bus to their location.

IN-BUS APP

The in-bus interface where the user can navigate between different controls and keep themselves safe.

PAPER PROTOTYPES

We created multiple interfaces and tested them with our users.

ITERATION 1
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We went through several iterations of designs before landing on our final prototype. We created our first round of paper prototypes. The goal was to create something recognisable and easy to use. The app shared qualities of other ride-sharing apps so navigation was easy. The in-bus app implemented a sidebar and horizontal scrolling to make viewing information simple.

We tested these among users and came accross several issues. Different sections were unclear and icons were not recognisable enough.

ITERATION 2
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In our second iteration we completely redesigned both apps based on our feedback. The mobile app had a ‘Hide My Screen’ feature that transformed the app into a game of tic tac toe that the user could easily access if they felt unsafe or needed to hide what they were doing. They could also book their bus and contact emergency services if necessary.

To improve the in-bus app we researched other existing in-car apps. We shifted the focus so the user could have more control over the ambience of the bus, e.g. air conditioner, lighting. In addition we added a constant feeback loop of the bus’ envirnoment to make the user feel at ease.

DIGITAL WIREFRAMES
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It became clear what we were getting right and what still needed improvement. We transitioned to digital wireframes and did another round of testing to ensure we were on the right track. We added text beneath the icons, and changed the way navigation worked. Our next run of testing was very successful. Participants no longer struggled to find different settings and controls.

FINAL SOLUTION

1.

Women do not leave dangerous situations for a myriad of reasons

ASH would provide a safe place for victims to leave while keeping their location anonymous and without disclosing to anyone, even the police.

2.

Even if they did want to leave - there could be nowhere to go

Whilst ASH is a temporary home it may lessen the load on other housing refuges and resources. Knowing there is an accessible safe space could encourage women to leave sooner rather than staying.

3.

Victims do not have access to resources

ASH could provide onboard resources while they are travelling and are out of a home.

4.

Police may not be the best first responder to domestic violence

ASH would provide a safe space for women without the obstruction of police which would make them more likely to seek help. We would like to explore the ways ASH could actually help police in gathering evidence and convicting offenders while protecting those who need it.

MOBILE APP
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Users can book a bus to a specific location. It follows a famliar design to other ride-sharing apps. Vehicle name, arrival times and other app information is clearly present.

To make entry into the bus safe, the users device acts as a key and will automatically unlock when their device is nearby.

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The app is disguised as a game of tic tac toe in order keep the users activity anonymous. If a user wants to quickly exit the app they can select the 'Hide My Screen' button which will take them to the game. To return to the main page, they must hold the screen for three seconds.

IN-BUS APP
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The in-bus interface allows for the user to adjust different settings in the vehicle such as lighting, temperature, and window tint. It provides a section on the left to view the exterior of the bus and its surroundings in order to feel safer. The search bar at the top allows for easy navigation to the users destination.