Interviewed a classmate about her current problem. She voiced that traveling downtown is a problem for her since she is always alone and does not feel secure downtown. She doesn't know what to do about this problem.


Government of Canada

Business Requirement:

Find the product-market fit for this new product and have an in-depth understanding of current commuters' behaviours including how they commute, how they prepare their routes, what area in town constitute as safe to them, how do they learn about this information and what tools do they currently use, etc.

User Problem:

Currently, there isn't a reliable yet handy way for users to check safety information for their walking distance commutes.

Technical Constraint:

An hybird minimal customization approach that needs to be iOS and Andriod friendly, as well as web app compatible

Project Timeframe:

3 months

Interesting Note:

During this project, research did not stop from the initial understanding of the user and market. Mid way secondary research was conducted. I had to go back to the users again to seek more understanding and validation on what company would make them feel safe and trustworthy as a safety map provider. Many answered if Government of Canada provides such service, they would feel much more reliable. Therefore, the visual requirement was to integrate Government of Canada's identity and attributes to build trust with audiences.


Condensed Case Study


Throughout the course of this project, I kept in mind that I needed to build a product users would find it useful and interesting. At the same time, creating revenue. To do so, I needed to solve users' problems.

With less than 5 days available for research, I did 1 survey of approximately 12 questions including screener with 10+ respondents, 3 in-depth interviews, 3 casual guerilla style interviews and domain research. The one key insight I found through user research was that users are currently using different ways, such as common sense, news/radio updates or multiple site checking or app uses, to be informed, to get updated or prepared their uncertain routes. This is telling me there is not a source of truth users can rely on.

I came up with 3 Proto-User-Personas to get started and to contiuously iterate and validate.




* Another potential Persona was mentioned through user interviews were tourists. Users had been traveling out of town or country before and found this safety map concepts very interesting as a tourist.

So, What Are The Users' Situations:

With 5 days of research, we understood the following.

Scenario for Primary Persona:

Susan is walking down the alley by herself feeling unsure where she is, wondering if she is in danger. She would feel more secure if a heads up about the area is given to her.

User story for Primary Persona:

“As a User, I would like to get to know and be familiar with the area a head of time, so I can be prepared, aware and know what to look for. Something I can check ahead of time about the area at a glance would be great.”

Scenario for Secondary Persona:

John-Dickinson is confident commuting around town as usual, but as soon as he gets to areas that he is not familiar with, he starts to feel a little unease and trying to think what should he do.

User story for Secondary Persona:

“As a commuter, I would like to feel confident about my route and not to worry too much, so I can go to more places and different areas with a friend or something. So my friend knows I am coming or on my way too.”

Scenario for Special Persona:

Dave thinks he can go around anywhere with his advanced technology and apps. They give him all the necessary location, navigation and even some safety information he needs. But the only down side is that they are not all at one place.

User story for Special Persona:

“As a commuter, I would like to have the best tools with me, so everything is efficient and great. I imagined it can integrate with my schedule, it shows the route, time arrival, safety needs, preparation need, it loads fast and it has all the near by location pointers”

— —

Defining The Features

To be competitive and solve users' problems, many features can be built. But to define the right initial features for an MVP, I used a feature prioritization matrix of must-have, nice-to-have, not-needed, quick-wins and competitor features comparison similar to this:


So, to get users on board, the initial features MVP needs:

  1. ● search location and get direction

  2. ● *let you alter your route flexibly basing on your comfort level of the suggested route right after your address search

  3. ● walking and driving navigation option

  4. ● show estimated time arrival

  5. ● *display all shady area in dimmer color and identifiers, for example, night clubs, casinos, bank, ATM and hourly hotels icons

  6. ● *direct 911 calling or emergency button to contact a designated number

  7. ● *track and record your path as you walk and have it save to your phone or instantly syn to another phone, for example, to a friend or a family member

  8. ● syn request notification and syn accept/deny

  9. ● street level reporting of crime by users

( * Key product distinguish features are highlighted in bold and turquoise basing on user insights. )

Conducted Guerilla User Testing with Mid-Fi and Hi-Fi Prototype to Test Usability and Design Decisions:

user and usability testing

Round 1 Mid-Fi Test Scope and Result:

1) Can users register an account feeling ease and satisfy?
Answer: At later stage, after they clicked through the app

2) Can user sign in before they start navigating?
Answer: Yes

3) Do users need to alter the settings in order to feel comfortable using the app?
Answer: No, but all checked out what they can do with the setting

4) Can user start searching right at their launch of the app?
Answer: Yes

Round 2 Hi-Fi User Testing - Remaining Errors and Feedbacks Summary:

1) People need to exit or go back during navigation
2) Signed In page and Edit Profile page are too similar
3) Questioned why did he need to create an account while the app is open to use
4) The pop up at the beginning of the app indicating creating an account would get you an avatar and Sync with Friend option was interesting to people
5) The steps and “skip” during Creating Account was confusing

Defining Success

As a new product, we need to know what defines success. Our features usage? Adoption? Low drop-out rate?

KPIs for SafeMap:

HEART framework

1) How many new accounts are registered within the first week, first month and first 3 months of launch?
2) How many people come back to use the app again and become their daily navigation app?
3) Number of users used Sync with Friend function?
4) Number of Sync with Friends friends increased?
5) Are people eager to report crimes?

Who Are We

Brand Positioning:
whoIsSafeMap A Safer Way - a commuter tool like other competitive map apps, with their features, but SafeMap utilizes a reliable source of data and gears with safety features its competitors don't.

Imagine a world without danger.

Monetization: Hearty Stores Application Hearty Stores — submit by business; approved by government agent; cost per application — and then to be listed on the map

Final Prototype:

* Full case study includes the UI design process, multi-platform solution, interaction design and a few more details of the project.



  • Open-ended research

  • Product-market fit

  • Waterfall MVP

  • Brand positioning

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