“77% female-identifying persons under the age of 40 reported being followed by a man or group of men in the past year in a way that made them feel unsafe”
“85% reported experiencing street harassment before the age of 17”
“Over 50% said that they’ve changed their clothing, refused a social event, chosen a different transportation option or felt distracted due to street harassment”
Street harassment towards women is a widely known problem. My team and I approached this space hoping to identify New York women’s pain points while commuting around the city alone and at night. From there, we would select an appropriate platform for which to design a solution, select a potential brand whose mission aligns with our idea (with the ultimate goal of partnering with them in the future) and design a solution.
User Researcher, UX Designer
Me + two other designers
User Interviews, Affinity Mapping, Persona Development, Journey Mapping, Competitive Analysis, Design Studio, Feature Prioritization, Paper Prototyping, Wire-framing, Usability Testing
We began our research with a hypothesis:
We believe offering female-identifying solo travelers a safety enhancement platform that can accompany and adapt to various forms of transportation will enhance users’ comfort, safety and independence.
After collecting data in the form of a screener survey and user interviews (four female-identifying and three male-identifying individuals who walk and take the MTA as their primary forms of transportation), we focused on the following strongest trends:
- Female-identifying persons reported fears of harassment/predatory behavior (groping, catcalling, & kidnapping)
- Female-identifying persons practice far more precautionary behavior than men (texting & calling, sharing location)
- All female-identifying persons feel that they should/could/would take extra safety precautions
- All people are likely to use a ride-hailing app such as Uber/Lyft at night as they are perceived as the safest option. Walking is considered the least safe & public transit always involves some degree of walking
With the above trends and insights in mind, we created an amalgamation of our data in the form of a persona, Amelia Griffin (see below). In addition, we dove further into the problem space by mapping our Amelia’s “journey” of traveling home alone at night after leaving a restaurant (also see below).
Given Amelia is a traveler, our solution needed to exist primarily on mobile so that it is accessible on the go. For this reason, we selected a native mobile app on the iOS and Android as our platform of choice.
Proposed Company Partnership
My team’s original proposal was a partnership with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, our users’ primary form of transportation.
After beginning to ideate and prioritize features, we decided to pivot our proposed company partnership from the MTA to Waze. We determined offering a navigation service that optimizes pedestrian routes for personal safety would have the biggest impact on our users. This functionality aligned with Waze’s existing premise – a navigation service for drivers that optimizes routes for speed. Like Waze, our solution, “Waze Transit,” would utilize user generated data and real time information to dictate the safest route, as determined by:
- crime reports
- open businesses nearby
- well-lit areas
- police checkpoints and stations
Why Should Waze Partner With Us?
Creating a public transit navigation app that is tailored to personal safety would give Waze a unique competitive advantage. As the market stands now, no navigation app offers any personal safety features for pedestrians or people using transit (see competitive matrix below).
While the public transportation navigation market is highly saturated with mature competitors like Apple Maps and Google Maps, Waze would be a first mover to optimize routes for personal safety.
This would ultimately drive conversions to Waze and generate goodwill for the company.
Using a tool called a MoSCoW map (see below), we graphed each feature anywhere from must-have to won’t-have based on technical feasibility and user impact. A GPS location sharing (includes ETA), a call favorites function (pre-set by user during on-boarding), and an S.O.S button (calls 911 & alert ICE contacts) all landed in the “must” quadrant.
Prototyping and Testing
Using Waze’s existing design as a foundation, we built out our prototype, usability testing it before refining our design and increasing its fidelity.
After finalizing our design, we compiled the visual details and interactions of our user interface in a specification document.