When communication infrastructure fails during a disaster

Project Overview

Initial Challenge

We worked with Eaton, a power management company as part of our Capstone project. Eaton tasked us with helping them enter the disaster resilience space.

Plot Twist

We started off this project thinking that we will be working on power management solutions for a post-disaster scenario but after reviewing relevant literature and talking with hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico, we realized that power blackout isn’t the most pressing problem after a natural disaster, it’s COMMUNICATION!

Problem Redefined

After a natural disaster, standard mobile or landline telecommunications, in addition to the Internet and even satellite-based emergency communication devices are completely or partially knocked offline. Because of this, disaster survivors cannot communicate with aid workers or their families and vice-versa, leading to inefficient aid work and intense family worry. The problem worsens in the remote areas which are difficult to access.

Our Design Solution

We are designing a service that lets disaster survivors in the remote areas send messages to their loved ones and request aid from first responders after a natural disaster.

Design concept video

Team: Aishwarya Dwivedi (Project Manager), Cameron Erdogan (Tech Lead), Emily Osborne (Research Lead), Morgan Broacha (UX Strategist)

Role: Design Lead (UI + UX)

Key responsibilities as Design Lead: Research synthesis (affinity diagramming, persona building, journey map designing, creating design goals document), wireframing, visual design, usability testing and planning design sprints.

Other responsibilities: Conducting contextual inquiry, and interviews, designing post-disaster need assessment form, conceptualizing service blueprint, defining the visual language for all the design artifacts including final product and creating a concept video for the project.