🏆 Winner of 2020 Ford Smart mobility Competition 🎉

The smart-mobility competition endorsed by Ford Motors is a 10 week long event aimed at creating realisable mobility solutions with impact. The competition is hosted in partnership with Loughborough University with workshops along the 10 week period from the likes of Google and IDEO.


Attempted Solutions

In these times of crisis, communities often resort to ad-hoc, band-aid solutions in an attempt to increase their mobility. Government-run organisations also have the funding to help, but communities struggle to utilise this effectively due to lack of awareness or knowledge.


Ideal Outcome

The resoures and the desire to solve the problem are in place but without proper execution, they fail to catalyse a strong unified response. Herd bridges this gap by providing a platform that encourages people to help themselves and their community through sharing, offering help, and providing peace of mind.

Proposal overview

Herd is primarily a digital experience that users can access through a website or even download as a progressive web app.

However it's not just for those comfortable with technology as it can also be accessed through physical large print and braille cards, providing a “digital-free” exeprience.

Users are most likely to use the Herd service when prompted by a flood warning. From here, they are provided with personalised actions that help them prioritise the tasks that best help improve their mobility and resiliance.

If any issues are experienced when completing these actions, users can send out a metaphorical "flare" that allows others to see their mobility needs. Thise who are able to help, can see and respond to these flares, creating a 2-way relationship of supply and demand in the community.

Development Journey

Initial response to the brief

We began by deconstructing the brief and exploring the general topic of mobility. In doing this we were able to establish the scope of the project and define mobility in a way we could all understand.

The questions of WHO? WHAT? and WHEN? were not answered within the brief, and so were used to narrow down topic areas.

Flooding as a case study

Every year over 5 million properties in the UK are at risk of flooding, with climate change models predicting that number to rise drastically by 2100. As the impact of flooding grows, the UK has been forced to adapt to dealing with the results. Flooding is "no longer approached as a preventable issue, but as something to be lived through", with a push for greater community involvement and resilience from many governing authorities.

We selected flooding due to its growing impact in the UK and our accessibility to stakeholders and users in Leicestershire. Although this was the lens through which we viewed mobility problems, during development we maintained an open mind as to how any of our ideas could benefit a variety of different crises.

How might we...

After exploring the mobility issues presented by a crisis we began to produce HMW's, with a focus on how we might change behaviour. Using affinity mapping we were able to group post-it notes together and summarise them into our core design problems.

During this process we also formed a list of considerations: Ensure communication is still possible in the event of power outages or loss of cellular networks Ensure the most vulnerable are prioritised (elderly, physical disabilities, mental disabilities, etc) Ensure accessibility for all ages, nationalities, and demographics

Rapid Ideation

Using the groups formed during the process of affinity mapping as headings, we began to draw up possible solutions.

Stepping back we could see that there was a clear theme running through all of the ideas of utilising community effort to improve the mobility of the community as a whole.

After combining and dot voting on concepts we had 4 discrete ideas we wanted to take forward:

  1. The Golden Moment
  2. Sending a Flare
  3. Resource Distribution
  4. Personalised Information

Drawing out the key elements

Validation of ideas

Refined Brief

Design a service that enables communities to mobilise against a crisis, by facilitating action that helps and provides for one another’s needs, and through clear and timely information that generate the appropriate response to mobility risks.

The service should be accessible to users of varying technological ability and communicate clearly across a large range of demographics.

Design Principles

User Journey

To fulfil the brief we created three ideal user journeys through the product/service.

  1. "Avoidable risk to mobility is predicted. Product guides user actions." This journey tackles common barriers to mobility in a crisis, namely that of confusion and lack of awareness of risk. The personalised warning ensures users respond, and the ensuing actions keep them able to prepare for the flood calmly.

  2. "User lacks a resource, product helps communicate need to wider community." This journey pieces together how a user could alert the community to their need, and how the product can maintain their mental state as they wait. In the instance of the flare receiving no response, further options are explored.

  3. "User wants to help, product enables this." In this journey those who want to help are encouraged to identify the ways in which they may be able to and add them in to a database. From this point the product uses an algorithm to match those who want to help with those in need.


In various fidelities of work, different members of the team began to map out the journeys into storyboards and wireframes. By combining these interpretations we could refine the user journey into higher fidelity prototypes.

Design Iterations


When choosing a name for the service, we wanted something that evoked a sense of belonging to a group, and having strength in the face of danger. It had to understandable and evoke an emotional reaction, but vague enough to expand the service into other crises.

We chose the name Herd, and leaned heavily into tribal connotations, as this created a strong brand language to work with. The logo was designed to show a H in negative space, allowing users to assign their own values and meaning to the brand. For us, the negative space showed that Herd would always be there supporting in the background to give people trust in the product. The four shapes represent that when individuals in the community come together they can become a part of something bigger than themselves.

Scenario 1 - Joining The Herd

Scenario 2 - Recieving a flood warning

Scenario 3 - Offering a ride to those in need

Scenario 4 - Using the physical cards

A visually impaired member of the community is in need of food. Without access to the app, she can rely on the cards to get help.

  1. Reading the card in Braille, she is able to follow the simple system to put in a request for food, to come within one day at a high urgency level.
  2. Her request is confirmed via a call back to let her know when help is on the way

Scenario 5 - Joining a clean up group

After exploring a variety of topics we were intrigued by repeated patterns of community enhanced mobility during a crisis. This was evident in a number of recent case studies such as the 15/16 UK floods, the Paris attacks, and even the recent Covid-19 pandemic.

From the offset it felt appropriate to explore crises in response to a mobility brief. They can greatly reduce access to basic products and services and in some cases even require evacuation. Moving forward we set out to deepen our understanding of the devastating impact a crisis can have on mobility.


Herd is a platform aimed at addressing lack of mobility in a time of crisis, by connecting community members to each other, helping them cultivate resiliance and speed up recovery.
10 Weeks

Group Lead
UX Designer

Key Skills
Remote Collaboration
Design thinking

Project type
Group Project
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The Problem

Every year over 5 million properties in the UK are at risk of flooding, with climate change models predicting that number to rise drastically by 2100. During a flood, people's saftey, emotional wellbeing, and access to goods and services are greatly dependent on their mobility, which is often heavily reduced.


This project has been a fantastic opportunity to work with new individuals coming from a range of diverse technical backgrounds. We were challenged throughout the process, efficiently managing our time as final year students whilst also adapting our methods of work throughout the covid-19 pandemic.

I have also been very pleased by the outcome of this project and how its timing and relevant could not have been better placed. By sucessfully leveraging all our skillsets, we were able to create a compelling proposal which we are proud to have been awarded winners of the Ford Smart Mobility Competition.

With support of the funds generously provided by Ford, we intend to further develop this proposal in the hopes of releasing it to the public in the near future. Bringing mobility to those that need it most.
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