EMAA / Emergency Automated Assistant

EMAA is a digital tool designed to offset communication issues during 911 calls by allowing users to message emergency dispatch, generate response messages, and automatically relay relevant information used by the dispatchers. 

EMAA is a digital tool designed to offset communication issues during 911 calls by allowing users to message emergency dispatch, generate response messages, and automatically relay relevant information used by the dispatchers. Emergency dispatchers have a stressful job with long hours, a high turnover, and low pay. Approximately 10,000 lives are lost every year because of inadequate location and communication technologies. Dispatchers and callers alike could benefit dearly by streamlining conversations, having information upfront, and fostering reassurance.

The system includes a mobile application used by the 911 caller and a desktop application used by dispatcher. The mobile application includes a personal user profile with relevant information (e.g. location, age, home address, emergency contact), options denoting severity of your emergency, and the ability to communicate with dispatchers via text and phone call.

The dispatcher application offers a list of response suggestions sorted by relevance, a transcript of the call, the caller’s profile information, and live clocks or maps which can be sent to the caller. It includes options for dispatchers to rate the stress level of an emergency and request someone else take the next call in the event a dispatcher has handled several crisis calls consecutively.

I began by researching and mapping the workflow of emergency dispatchers. This included written interviews with members of the reddit forum r/911dispatchers and listening to 911 calls to map their high and low points. Then, I developed personas and touchpoints based on my research.

I mapped user journeys by developing a set of persona and touchpoint cards that allowed me to mix and match them to graph different scenarios with thumbtacks and string. Then I illustrated higher fidelity versions of these graphs. The grey line is the normal workflow of an emergency call with the delta “Δ” denoting variables to the touchpoints. The blue line is the user journey with EMAA managing the calls and the “A” denotes the touchpoint interventions of the application.

I used this information to develop low-fidelity and high-fidelity wireframes addressing the most problematic touchpoints. The interactions needed to be clear and efficient. The goal was to avoid confusion and keep both parties reassured. During my research I experimented with the use of color to imply severity and this inspired the final interface design. 

Finally, I used my research and prototype to storyboard, film, and animate a video demonstrating EMAA being used by a caller and dispatcher persona during an emergency call. I also compiled my research and process into a video demonstrating the major stages of the process.