SingleWire is a leader in the emergency notification space. SingleWire’s main product, InformaCast, is trusted by federal agencies, major universities, and large companies. Traditionally deployed via Cisco phones, email, and desktop software, in 2016 SingleWire was in the midst of a transition to mobile. They needed research to understand mobile use cases and to help brainstorm functionality for a mobile application.
SingleWire’s new Active Tracking mobile application had to major goals: 1) to allow members of a community to receive InformaCast notifications on the go (as opposed to via phone, desktop, or email), and 2) to allow users to send a distress signal, notifying authorities that they need help. Because of this, there were several actors involved (community members, administrators, dispatchers, respondents), and in the target population (in this case, college campuses), two major groups to interview: students and security personnel.
After 15 interviews were conducted (9 students, 6 staff) and a questionnaire sent out (27 respondents), personas and user stories were created to summarize findings and help guide design and product development. This context allowed us to design with real end-users in mind and have a basis to discuss the relevance of proposed features.
Traditionally, SingleWire’s technology has worked using Voice Over IP technology (and is integrated into most Cisco desktop phones), but there’s been a recent move to modernize the technology (because who has a desktop phone anymore, even in corporate settings), so a lot of SingleWire’s work is moving into the web and mobile space. We were tapped to help them think about this transition, as well as update the designs on some of their existing properties for web, mobile, and desktop.
Specifically, SingleWire has a desktop notifier application for Windows and OSX to receive their broadcasts that needed an update. They also have a web dashboard which inherited a lot of legacy functionality from their VoIP phones that was no longer relevant and needed to be redesigned. Finally, SingleWire is in the process of developing an application to track users movements live during an incident to help direct respondents.
Several design iterations were produced for updates to the desktop notifier, updates to the administrator dashboard (migrated to the web), and for the new mobile application, and SingleWire began moving some of those changes to production in mid-2017. Through the interviews (especially with staff members), we were able to identify customers interested in piloting the new functionality, helping guide the product as it goes live.