Ruoxue (Astra) Zhang
UX & Interaction Designer
An app for residents in wildfire hazard areas accessing up-to-date fire data and evacuation plans
My Major Contributions:
Designed low/high fidelity & interactive mockups;
Designed promotional website and poster
Made promotional video
Iterated on designs based on feedback;
Led usability tests and evaluation sessions.
Team: Ruoxue Zhang, Mariam Moattari, James Heaton, Henri Smulders, Noah Sutter
UX Design Process
Our problem space rose from an interview between a teammate and a resident lived in California.
Wildfires are becoming more prevalent especially in California, and evacuation actions become very common. We want to provide a platform for residents living in these areas to access up-to-date wildfires data and evacuation plans and easy-to-understand information.
To understand the problem better and learn about the context, we conducted several research activities.
Study articles and online resources about CA wildfires.
3 Interviews with CA residents;
1 Interview with Napa County fire department captain.
Learn about the related services;
Compare and analyze 3 competitors.
After understanding the problem and the context, I summarizes our target users to personas and generated 3 use cases. My teammate came up with the system architecture.
The first solution is simply asking a person to run down every street in the community, and shouting out information of wildfires. People may stop the person and ask for more details.
Digital solution with sensors
Creating a sensor grid that could be distributed throughout California to identify fires in real time and having an alarm in each home to notify people.
Digital solution (app)
An app on iOS and Android that provides many layers of fire data overlaid on a map as well as notifications or texts when fire conditions change, and user reported data to supplement data available publicly.
Decision: We evaluated pros and corns of the three alternatives, and we found out Approach 3 was the best one for our case, since it's a relatively low cost and effective way of circulating information - people only need to download the app to learn about the wildfire data. The app also provides a platform to connect people with similar concerns.
3 Use Cases
I made wireframes and got feedback from users. Then, after modifying the design ideas, I made the high fidelity prototype and interactive one.
High Fidelity Prototype
During the prototyping phase, I made two learning prototypes to prove the concepts and design solutions.
Usability Test For Learning Prototype 1
Fire Map Feature
Questions to be answered:
Is the way displaying fire info on the map intuitive?
What is the best balance between displaying information and minimizing data usage?
Users wanted to see more than one type of information. Icons need to be differentiable and at the same time, familiar to users.
Alert Point Marker
Usability Test For Learning Prototype 2
Questions to be answered:
Do users feel secure after setting up the alert feature?
What information does users expect to get after receiving an alert?
The former alert feature was common pushing notifications for the direct users. However, based on the feedback, we shifted our focus to set up alerts for the direct users as well as secondary users.
Common Notification Center
Alert For Both 1st & 2nd Users
After several rounds of prototyping and evaluations, developers in our team implemented the interfaces on both IOS and Android platforms.