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