senior capstone project
Complete a capstone project that showcases the culmination of one's learning experience at the UW iSchool. Apply knowledge and skills from academics to a real-world, functioning project.
What is countercovid?
With the current public health crisis of COVID-19, some communities in the King County area are at a higher risk for the virus and are more vulnerable to the effects of this pandemic. CounterCOVID is a risk assessment tool that assists these communities by reducing misinformation and easing their fears through a targeted and personalized approach. CounterCOVID takes in symptom information from the user in a quiz format, and returns personalized information about an individual's next best steps, with a focus in the King County area. CounterCOVID is a reliable and centralized tool, specifically for at-risk and (ESL) english-as-a-second-language communities within King County.
product demo & overview
View Project Poster & capstone details on the uw ischool website
Challenge: condensed timeline
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, my team and another team were recruited to abandon our former projects and join forces to create a product pertaining to the needs created by the Corona virus. This left us with a condensed timeline of only 10 weeks, as opposed to the 20 total weeks of capstone, to launch our product. Because of this, we jumped immediately into brainstorming Covid project areas using a cloud map, and then narrowed our focus to five initial goals.
Taking the time to plan
While we lost 10 weeks of work time upon pivoting project topics, we valued the importance of identifying our context, defining our problem statement and scope, generating a high-level structure for our project space, and agreeing upon a general timeline. Doing so helped to narrow our focus and mitigate our work.
Challenge: Designing for a dynamic situation
Protocols, lifestyles, and information regarding the Coronavirus was changing on a daily basis, adding an additional challenge to building a product in this space. To combat this issue, we devised a methodology that relied intensively on upfront research. We needed virus research from experts to provide proper support, and target demographic research to identify primary areas of concern.
We conducted mix methods research in order to best inform our product design. Our research consisted of the following:
Challenge: unable to have random selection
"Cultural probes are a qualitative research tool, where open ended activities are given to a group of participants to learn more about their daily lives and environment. They start conversations amongst designers and bring novel insights." -Catherine Legros
I created cultural probe kits in the early stages of our research to gain an understanding of the lives and emotions of participants that we might not otherwise learn from standardized questions or methods.
Due to the virus, I was unable to conduct a cultural probe with a random selection of participants from our target demographic. To combat this, I chose to select people I knew that fit our outlined target demographic to participate in the cultural probe.
designing the probe kit:
designing the probe kit:
activities inspired by motivations
Probe Kit Results
cultural probe findings
People are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and worried during this time
Concerned for loved ones (including children, elderly, and immunocompromised)
Everyday activities have now changed, along with emotions about completing them
Miss getting out of the house and seeing friends and family
See a great deal of Covid-19 information through their phones
A Google Forms survey was created to gain insight as to how people were acquiring information regarding Coronavirus and what types of information they felt uninformed about.
The survey was shared via Facebook through the UW Othello group, containing faculty, staff, students, South Seattle community members, and many English-as-second-language speakers.
No one fully trusts the information they are discovering
Majority access information via their smartphone
Uninformed about best practices, necessary actions, testing availability, and financial assistance
Struggle to find the targeted information
Will search for information when it applies to them
Survey participants were asked if they would be available for a brief interview via Zoom or phone call, in order for us to gain a more personal and deeper understanding of their concerns.
One of the biggest issues is how much is only in English. It's heartbreaking how many people we are leaving out.
I'm flooded with info. So much. Too much to digest. Plus it keeps changing; 6ft, 10ft, 20ft
We analyzed other Coronavirus related tools and products to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to create something novel.
competitive analysis findings
Results are generic and only connect to CDC website
Tools that track the ongoing number of cases worldwide
Currently no products available in the iOS market
We conducted a literature review regarding the latest Coronavirus updates to better inform ourselves of the pandemic. This helped our background knowledge, narrowing our scope, and identifying reliable resources.
Literature review findings
Protocols vary by state and county
Identified general understandings to stay healthy
Identified local resources to utilize depending on context
Identified common misconceptions to combat
personas driven by research
The English-as-a-second-language (ESL) speaker with no established primary care doctor.
The caretaker of an immunocompromised loved one.
The very concerned, but relatively healthy individual.
These personas represent three potential categories of King County residents and their Coronavirus related concerns.
Determining a solution
developing a covid risk assessment tool
Reliable information found in a single location
Accessible for all (ESL speakers / levels of ability) with a mobile-first approach
Customizable input for a user's individual circumstance
Personalized next best steps based on input
Connection to local resources
key product features & community impact
offering medical advice...
...but we're not medical professionals?
We reached out to professionals at Johns Hopkins University for the use of their symptom checker quiz and backend scoring that determines risk level. Sajung Yun, Ph.D & Sijung Yun, Ph.D, Bioinformatics Adjunct Professors, designed the quiz. Details and the methodology used to design it can be reached through our terms of service.
creating a style guide
The goal CounterCOVID's style was to create a look and feel that was calming, but also stimulating and communicative. This inspiration drove our color palette of cool blues to illicit a feeling of security and calmness, mixed with oranges that stimulate and draw attention by creating a sense of space and awareness.
We refrained from alarming colors and the overly sterile style found in most medical environments to ensure users felt comfortable and safe, because the nature of Coronavirus is already daunting.
Additionally, we chose to avoid common signifier colors such as red and green, to be inclusive to our ESL community, and as to not associate with a feeling of "good" or "bad."
Prototyping was an iterative process, with continual refining based on our core values, evaluations, and usability testing. Prototypes were created for both mobile web browsing views and desktop.
Usability testing was conducting on our functioning prototypes to gain feedback on associated perception, while identifying sources of confusion or dissatisfaction.
Our final product includes an orientation screen, a series of questions with associated icons, and a personalized results page containing a hierarchy of information, including:
Risk level of Coronavirus
Off-boarding resources linked directly to pertinent community resources
Potential healthcare providers
Options for the uninsured
Blood donation and volunteering resources for low-risk users
Option to save results as PNG
A safe and reassuring end user experience.