Help a large police force fight crime through a voice-controlled app that informs officers about incident details while they are driving.

SELL INNOVATION

The police force was undergoing a huge digital transformation, and the highway patrol was one piece of it. We needed to create an app that is to be used primarily while driving, using innovation to make the daily lives of police officers easier.

MY ROLE

 

As the lead designer on this project, I worked closely with the product manager and technical architect to define and develop the app. I focused on interaction, motion, and visual design.

WHEN I GROW UP, I WANT TO BE A POLICE OFFICER

We flew the clients, where we spent a day huddling together to figure out exactly what it's like being a police officer. We figured out what makes them tick, discussed cultural differences, and tried to put ourselves in their shoes for a day.

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USER JOURNEY & PERSONA CREATION

Who knew there were so many roles that a police officer could take? We decided on Matt, who is a highway patrol officer.

LOW-FIDELITY WIREFRAME & USER TESTING: NAVIGATION PARADIGM

We had to brainstorm ways of prompting the user to navigate through voice, instead of the typical hamburger menu.

Do we take out the hamburger menu all together? How do we get the user to click the big microphone button?

USER TESTING: hamburger menu vs. FAB

We sent the low fidelity Invision prototypes to a test group of 10 police officers to get their initial reactions. What we quickly realized was that while they need a voice-activated app, it was a new concept that they didn't quite understand yet. 

Solution: design an onboarding process

That way, the first time the user opens the app, they'll know exactly what the intended purpose is -- to navigate through voice while driving.

After additional rounds of user testing and feedback, we decided that it wasn't time for the "death of the hamburger menu". Because the user group wasn't technologically savvy, they were habitually used to the hamburger menu to navigate. In order to really draw their attention on the microphone button and promote the user behavior, we added pulsing animations and tooltips to prompt them to navigate through voice. The hamburger menu remains, but the focus is really on the microphone.

USER TESTING: Vernacular

As we sent our Dialogflow script to the officers themselves in the UK, we realized that our inputs were written in an American vernacular. For example, we even named the app "PatrolAssistant" -- but changed it to "PatrolMate" to appeal more to the British officers. To remedy this, we sent a spreadsheet of our inputs and asked them to fill in how they would ask the question instead.

TEST & DRIVE: Gestures

To really see if this app works in situ, we had to test it while driving through guerilla tactics. We took a card out to the Google parking lot, mounted it on the dashboard, and tested the gestures. 

Key learnings:

1. Touch targets need to be larger

2. Don't read the entire notification (change to a title + description structure instead)

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FINAL VISUAL DESIGN & INTERACTION MAP

THE RESULT

Our app played an integral role towards the police force's larger digital transformation efforts. Now, highway patrol officers can quickly find key information in order to improve their response impact. The app not only provided assistance while onsite, but also eased the incident preparation process, allowing phone interaction to be done safely while driving.

KEY LEARNINGS

1. Be mindful of context -- culture and actions. Change the vernacular to appeal to the British officers. Change the gestures to make it easier to use while driving. These insights can only be uncovered through thorough user testing.

2. Get all stakeholders in the room from the start -- our workshop was extremely productive because we had tech, business, product, design, and officer representation.

3. Don't be afraid of new technology -- while users might not understand it at first, through proper onboarding, they can really use tech to their advantage. Our app used Dialogflow API, Chatbase, NLP, AI/ML, Google Translate, speech to text recognition, Google maps API for geofencing, and more.

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IN THE PRESS

International coverage

West Midlands Police
West Midlands Police
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Accenture
Accenture
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