21 October 2009

VA: Prototypes

A few slides from my presentation:

Based on my research from the last phase, there is so much information about kcai’s security, and how to protect yourself, but it’s a mess. It’s easy to get lost in irrelevant security details, and extremely hard to get a hold of vital information, like campus crime statistics. Students feel overwhelmed and confused.

If a crime has never happened to a student firsthand, most likely they don’t think about their risk as much as they should. They might feel like they aren’t susceptible to crime. On the other hand, many of the responses from the the student survey mentioned how they don’t think our school’s security even roams the campus. Yeah, they think it’s that bad.

First, I'm trying to raise awareness:

Here is my prototype for a crime tag, asking boldly if the person reading is a target. It tells the reader that a crime was committed right where they are standing. It lists the crime, the cross-street, and the day the crime happened. This one in particular was a theft that happened at 45th and Oak street on september 8, so it’s hanging up on the backside of the Irving building.

Each one that I made was different, calling out different crimes that have happened around our school in the past month.

tag at 40th and warwick

"Well, this makes me not want to walk home at night"

Beyond the tags, I made packaging for a small bottle of pepper spray, and a credit card sized information booklet, to give students some sort of solution to the apprehension they get from reading the tags.

The booklet is meant to be kept in your wallet at all times, which students always carry with them. That way they can have easy access to information always.

In this neighborhood map, I found a list of all reported crimes in the Southmoreland neighborhood since the beginning of this year, and plotted them on a map. From there, I looked at which areas had the biggest clusters of crime, and labeled them as high crime and moderate crime areas.

There are multiple forms of tips and advice that the school hands out to students to try and prevent crime, but they all are poorly designed, and many of the tips are too meticulous for people to pay attention to- the list ends up being a mile long, and people won't even read the important tips because they feel too overwhelmed by all the info. I've narrowed it down to only the most vital tips and crime prevention ideas, and added them to this booklet, in very clear and easy to understand terms.

The school’s security phone number is at the bottom of every page if needed, and also dominant on the back cover.

I had two students from the school test these prototypes-

First, Sara tested it for an afternoon and evening, walking back and forth from classes, and going about her day.

She said that she liked everything about them, and really enjoyed the booklet, how all the important stuff that she needed to know was in one handy place. She said that she was much more aware of crime after reading it, like when she was walking around at night, and said that she also felt more confident knowing that she had pepper spray on her. But it needs a key ring, she pointed out. Overall, she said that the pepper spray/booklet combo worked hand in hand with each other to create a positive experience.

Tester #2 was Tiffane, who was able to use the prototypes over night, while she went over to a friend’s house late into the night. She showed it to them, and they were all really engaged in the booklet’s contents.

After her test, she told me that she’s always been really careful about crime, only because she’s gone through so many bad situations like that around her neighborhood. She said that using the prototypes was more interesting than anything else, because she didn’t know any of the stats, or about crime densities through our neighborhood that she discovered on the map. She also mentioned that when she carries pepper spray on her, she feels ‘different’. “it could be potentially either good or bad... it could be used just as easily against you as it could be your defense.” Instead, she’s taken a self-defense class that has really empowered her. She feels a lot better because it’s HER that’s able to defend herself, not something she’s carrying.

Overall, the general consensus was very pro for the booklet, having all the vital information in one place. I’ve gotten mixed feedback on the pepper spray, and not enough people noticed my crime tags for me to consider them effective. I want to run with the vital information idea, into a community website, complete with interactive map, and see where that takes me!

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