Sexual assault is a huge problem on college campuses. Myself and my team of 3 other UX designers wanted to create an app that would help prevent sexual assault on college campuses.
We created an alert system app that allows a user to check in on their friends, send updates on their safety, and send an alert for help if they are in a bad situation.
We began by interviewing users about sexual assault and hearing their opinions on how to prevent this from happening. Based on those interviews, we created two user personas for the app: the bystander who wants to help their friends but does not know how, and the student who wants an easy way to call on their friends for help.
Based on these personas, we created a simple wireframe for our app. We focused on three main capabilities: an alert system, a way to check in with friends, and a way to find a friend who needs help. After creating a paper prototype with these features, we tested it on 5 users and got their feedback after asking them to complete several tasks with the app.
We then modified our app and made changes that we implemented in our basic wireframes. We created an interactive prototype using Invision, which we tested on 5 more users. After reviewing our interview notes and insights, we developed high-fidelity wireframes, which we then gave to a team of iOS and web developers for implementation.
Over half of all instances of sexual assaults involve drugs or alcohol. This means that, likely, users of the app will be somewhat intoxicated. To combat this, we designed large, simple buttons and used the familiar colors of red/yellow/green to easily signify to the user what each button meant. If a user is in a bad situation, then no matter how drunk they are, they will intuitively press the red button, not the green one. We also recognized that this app would mostly be used at night and needed to be discreet, so we used a dark interface for the UI. This would avoid the app being bright and blinding, while at the same time allowing the user to discreetly call for help if necessary.
Based on our user interviews, we found that people wanted to be active bystanders and help their friends and others, but they didn’t know when to intervene in a situation. You might be at a bar and see something that looks suspicious, but how do you know if you should act on it or not? That’s where the alert system comes in. If your friend alerts you that they need help, you can feel comfortable knowing your help is wanted and needed. The app also includes a feature that lets you notify your Facebook friends, friends of friends, or nearby users of the app. This gives bystanders a way to help others without feeling like they’re being intrusive.
Nobody goes out expecting to be sexually assaulted, and thus, it’s hard to plan in advance for those situations. Therefore, we wanted this app to be something that people use every night they go out. Because of this, we focused on making the app more about keeping in touch with your friends. The map of your friends gives users an easy way to see where there friends are. This would be very useful if their friend was in a bad situation and needed help. However, this would also be useful if you lost your friend at a party or wanted to meet up with them. By making the app not only exclusive to dangerous situations, it will encourage regular behavior, which will ultimately cause more people to use the app. This means that more people would potentially be able to help someone in a bad situation.
The app is now in the process of being developed. There is also a web component being developed that will allow users to check in on their friends from a website. Once completed, it will allow people to send alerts for help and come to the aid of others. Hopefully, Signifi will help combat sexual assault and allow people to feel safe and comfortable at night.