Spher App

Personal safety app with a goal to create safer cities for women.

PROJECT OVERVIEW

ABOUT SPHER

Imagine a woman being able to feel safe at a club, cab or while walking home alone in the evening. A Swedish start-up Spher which has been slowly evolving since 2019 is on a mission to make safer cities for women a reality.
The Spher app will launch in 2022.

SPHER STARTED WITH A PROBLEM

The majority of women regardless of their location don't feel safe when being alone outside of their home after dark.
While there are numerous safety apps available on the market, women do not have a single empowering tool to help them keep safe and address the fundamental issues of safety in public spaces.

PROJECT TYPE

Mobile App, Women empowerment

MY ROLE

End-to-end UX and UI design of two main features of the app: two-way location sharing and chat. Contributing to other features, project management

TEAM

UX/UI Designers: Myself (Dagija Kugeviciute), Katerina Blazheva, Francesco Fastelli

DURATION

Ongoing project (Since Jan 2022)

BUSINESS GOALS

New Users

Win 1000 New users/week since app launch in September, 2022.

Returning Users

Empowering women - more motivation to return.

New Allies

Earn a reputation to acquire 10 new allies (bars/clubs/taxis) by 2023 and new investors.

CONSTRAINTS

Limited Time

Having attracted the first investor it was important to deliver the project by the agreed date.

Limited Budget

Due to limited budget not all features can be implemented in version 1.0

Data Privacy

Compliance to data privacy standards and security of users should be ensured.

SOLUTION & FUTURE GOAL

The long-term goal of Spher as a company is to take a more wholistic approach to the public safety issue.
However, considering the limitations above, SPHER Version 1.0 mobile application empowers women by providing them with access to immediate help. 

A personal & quick onboarding experience.

Not to lose users.lorem ipsum

Ability to add the trusted contacts.

Alarm button.

Location sharing and notifications when friends get home.

Chat with quick actions for better accessibility

WHY IS THIS PROBLEM IMPORTANT?

Initial research - problem validation

While Spher is an inclusive organisation, some people ask but why are you targeting women? Is this is really a big problem even in Europe? So I looked at the secondary quantitative data from the UK to see the reality of women. 

Individuals aged 16-34 who have experienced harrassment in the past

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Individuals aged 16-34 who have felt very or fairly unsafe when walking alone after dark

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The first chart seems to directly corelate to the second - how women feel in regards to safety after dark. Which leads to the conclusion that the problem is there and it is BIG.

WHAT UX METHODS I USED TO DRAW QUALITY ON THE SOLUTION AND WHY?

METHOD #1: COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS TO SEE WHERE WE WILL BE HEADING

The competition has little to NO empowerment aspect

“Safety is your responsibility”

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GPS with your circle/Chat

Emergency button

Premium required, evasive

Based on community resilience

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Calling nearby guardians

Guardians training

Patronising content to keep safe

Tackles public safety problem

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Mark and report unsafe area

GPS with your Guardian

Path bound, limited features

METHOD #2: USER INTERVIEWS x 5

I lacked understanding in future user pains, needs and expectations in order to cater the final product towards their needs. Among other things I wanted to know:

What is the experience of women when walking alone after dark? Does it differ by country?

What is women’s experience regarding safety in bars, clubs and taxis?

Are there any specific measures that they take to feel safer?

ANALYSING THE DATA

5 Women (from different countries)

70+ Data points

14 Insights

2 Types of pains

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Spher app workflow - Affinity Diagram .jpg

FINDINGS

Women’s pains and needs can be divided into two types

RELATED TO PUBLIC SAFETY IN THE SOCIETY

Often not taken seriously when telling others about being harassed in public places - it happens too often.

RELATED TO KEEPING SAFE

Always ask female friends to inform when they get back home but sometimes friends forget.

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When I’m going somewhere new, I would make sure to send the address to my friends or my boyfriend.

- Anonymous woman, NL

WHICH PROBLEM TO PRIORITIZE & HOW TO APPROACH IT?

Balancing user needs with business goals and tech capabilities

METHOD #3: FEATURE DISCOVERY AND PRIORITIZATION WORKSHOPS

In order to see how we can best meet the future user needs and beat the competition, I initiated three workshops with a cross-functional team including developers and the founders.

Workshop 1: Brainstorming features & Voting

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Workshop 2: Prioritization of voted features 

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Workshop 3: Classified features by importance for the user 

Finally, we used MOSCOW method to classify all of the features including the ones identified in market analysis.
In the MUST HAVE section we have put the features that enables users to achieve their goals.

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PRIORITIZATION SESSIONS LED US TO THE FOLLOWING CONCLUSION

App version 1

FOCUSING ON KEEPING SAFE PROBLEM

How might we provide women with access to help so they feel more confident walking alone at night?

Next version goal

TACKLING THE ROOT PROBLEM

How might we improve the public safety by refusing to accept female exclusion?

MESSY LOW-FI  SKETCHES

Catering towards prioritized features and flows

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VALIDATION

I continuously iterated on the design and made 4 major improvements

1st MAJOR IMPROVEMENT

Removal of path line and saved path

2 nd MAJOR IMPROVEMENT

Destination sharing: Map usability score increased

Incorporated destination option into one flow

3 rd MAJOR IMPROVEMENT

Quick actions in chat for better accessibility

4th MAJOR IMPROVEMENT

User-friendly layout: decluttering location sharing screen

LEARNINGS

Overall this project has taught me the importance of prioritization and thinking how each element of design would tie together and contribute to the end result benefiting both for the users and business.
Also, prioritization of UX methods and constant iterations are crucial for quicker progress.

IF I HAD MORE TIME I WOULD...

Explore more alternative cases

To increase safety i.e. low battery, limited-time to react, having no guardians to add etc.

Refine chat

To match user needs for quick actions better.

Solve other identified user pains

Dive deeper into nice to have features to relieve more user pains and increase the competitiveness for the business.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Of course, this isn't where it all ends. There is still a lot of work for us to improve the product in terms of usability, the visuals and most importantly - the features that would help tackling the root problem regarding safety.
I'm excited to see how Spher develops further!