Mar - Jun 2016
INFO 200 Class Project
about where's water
Where's Water is a class project for INFO 200. Each team was tasked with finding an interesting problem, and then designing a solution to solve that problem. My team chose to tackle the problem of access, or lack thereof, to clean drinking water.
We came up with Where's Water, a website that utilizes crowdsourcing data from our users to fill our database with clean water locations worldwide.
Many areas across the globe do not have water that is safe to consume, while also being information that isn't always readily available to everyone who may need it, making it difficult to discern whether or not to use the water. This leads to many people drinking contaminated water because they have no other option. The peace of mind that comes with knowing if water is clean is invaluable to all across the globe.
To tackle trying to solve such a diverse problem that affects the livelihood of millions, extensive research had to be done. Knowing this, we began by scouring the web as well as tapping into our respective networks to learn and understand what we were dealing.
Research began with finding competitors that might already fill this need, or close to it. While some solutions to the issue do exist, the information they provide are limited, covering only areas that are highly populated. Our solution looks to have data from all parts of the world, which is where the crowdsourcing of data comes into play.
To get a better real-world understanding of the problem, we underwent two research methods to conduct user research. Method one was a survey, receiving over 50 responses regarding various aspects of the issue. Method two was to have several individual interviews with people of varying backgrounds that have experience in this field.
After gathering up all our research and summarizing it formally, we came up with a couple personas to help contextualize our solution.
A set of wireframes were made before designing the final solution, taking all these research points into account. Our main focus was to keep the UI as simple and accessible as possible. Only 4 tabs exist on the site, each filling a very specific purpose.
Taking into account all the above research and wireframes, we finally began work on the final high fidelity screens. We strived for a clean and simplistic design language for various reasons detailed below.
The design language of Where's Water begins with taking into account our user personas. We went for a text-first layout due to taking into consideration the potential low bandwith around the world in rural/remote places.
This text-first layout afforded for a very clean UI and UX, something that we also pushed due to the lack of technological prowess when in regards to those who might not use tech very often.
Amanda, the young world traveler, won't be able to lug around a desktop/laptop with her on her travels. She will, however, have access to her mobile device. In that sense, Where's Water needs to be mobile compatible for her to access our database to both use and add to it. Accessibility is key!
This was the very first project I did at the University of Washington for INFO 200, the introductory class of Informatics. It was the class that really showed me what UX and design was, not by teaching it to us, but by giving us a project to work on from start to finish. This project spanned only a little over a month, which is a testament to how frantically rushed we all felt.
I learned so much about the world of Informatics through this course and came out of it with a new clear-cut goal: to become a UX designer. If I could do anything different, it would've been to take this class sooner than I did so I could discover my passion sooner!