Digital

Emergency response mobile app

Emergency response mobile app

Client: Partnership with Symmetric delivering to St John Volunteer Service

Location: Australia

Cognitive Ink provided strategy definition, requirements analysis and user research, which then led to the interaction design for a first response app for the St John Volunteer Service. The purpose of the app was to provide St John volunteers with guidance to the severity of triage cases.

 

Background

An off-shoot of the St John Ambulance Service, the St John Volunteer Service provides extensive emergency response support to local community events, as well as raising funds and running youth programs. Cumulatively, their 15,000 volunteers provide over 1 million hours of volunteer community service every year. 

St John’s Volunteers are a well trained and dedicated medical support team. Many of their members are drawn from the ranks of the fire-service, police forces and practicing St John’s Ambulance officers who continue to contribute their time and expertise beyond their normal paid roles. The senior leadership are responsible for the continual induction and training of volunteers, many of which who later join the ambulance or medical services. 

Medical triage can be a mixture of many low risk cases, punctuated by sudden and more serious high risk cases. Paper based patient record assets are the main method of tracking a case.

St John Patient Record.jpg

Workshops

Workshops with St. John senior staff representatives suggested that there were a number of contextual and social forces that shape the triage process and would need to be factored into any analysis, including: 

  • Speed of interaction - A triage process must be rapid. Any tools are assets that slow the process down will be discarded.
  • Bedside context - The triage process (and any associated tools or assets) must fit within the patient interaction. The patient is the first priority and any tools that get in the way won’t be used, won’t be useful and may even distract from triage. 
St John Affinity Mapping.jpg
St John Event Christopher.jpg

Onsite research

Rather than presuming that a digital solution was necessary, we challenged why existing methods needed to be replaced, given their robust and well understood use. To gain a deeper insight, we went into the field at an early morning major event in Sydney and conducted interviews with St John’s Volunteer response team members. 

St John Vital Signs.jpg

Feedback and analysis suggested that experienced responders had developed a rich set of effective internalised rules for carrying out on-the-spot medical triage. Using a Skills, Rules, Knowledge framework to analyse expertise, we suggested they were operating via well-defined, internalised and rapid Skills and Rules frameworks; classic signs of expertise. 

In contrast, junior responders operated using slower and more effortful Knowledge based frameworks. This means that junior members were more likely to be negatively influenced by social influences. Essentially, junior responders may have been more likely to deprecate evidence out of fear of appearing over-reactive. 

Even more, although junior responders can record the evidence as accurately as senior responders, we proposed they were likely to struggle with the multi-factor decision making involved with combining the various pieces of recorded evidence into a decision output. The vital signs decision frameworks are complex, with a number of interrelated severity factors across ~30+ recorded measures.  

The social and cognitive pressures suggested that a digital was a perfect vehicle to automate the aggregation and computational process of comparing the various rules. In effect, we needed to create a first response rules engine. 

An offline app (mobile) model was selected as the right channel, given the realities of ‘in-the-field’ triage and likely lack of consistent access to a computer or internet connection as well as the likelihood of ‘one-handed’ use. 


Early sketch concepts

Leading from the strategy, user requirements and research, early sketch concepts were used to plot major navigational flows and views. 

Feedback and analysis suggested that experienced responders had developed a rich set of effective internalised rules for carrying out on-the-spot medical triage. Using a Skills, Rules, Knowledge framework to analyse expertise, we suggested they were operating via well-defined, internalised and rapid Skills and Rules frameworks; classic signs of expertise. 

In contrast, junior responders operated using slower and more effortful Knowledge based frameworks. This means that junior members were more likely to be negatively influenced by social influences. Essentially, junior responders may have been more likely to deprecate evidence out of fear of appearing over-reactive. 

Even more, although junior responders can record the evidence as accurately as senior responders, we proposed they were likely to struggle with the multi-factor decision making involved with combining the various pieces of recorded evidence into a decision output. The vital signs decision frameworks are complex, with a number of interrelated severity factors across ~30+ recorded measures.  

The social and cognitive pressures suggested that a digital was a perfect vehicle to automate the aggregation and computational process of comparing the various rules. In effect, we needed to create a first response rules engine. 

An offline app (mobile) model was selected as the right channel, given the realities of ‘in-the-field’ triage and likely lack of consistent access to a computer or internet connection as well as the likelihood of ‘one-handed’ use. 


Early sketch concepts

Leading from the strategy, user requirements and research, early sketch concepts were used to plot major navigational flows and views. 

Rapid prototyping

Quick prototypes were then loaded as static images and used as part of in-field ad-hoc concept reviews with junior, intermediate and senior responders. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sketch feedback

Early on-device image prototypes were essential at driving immediate sketch feedback

storyboard001.jpg

Interactive prototype

Following from an iterative sketch and basic wireframe process, we developed a rich interactive prototype using the Axure wireframe tool. The advantage of an interactive wireframe was that it could be clearly and quickly communicate to user representatives and tested directly on mobile devices as a pseudo application. 

 

 

 

 

Development prototypes

Feedback was extremely positive and led to early development prototypes on the iOS platform. 

The same design patterns and frameworks were also translated to the Android platform. 

District 8 Online Shopping

District 8

Client: Discovery Shopping / District 8 

Location: Sydney, Australia

Cognitive Ink helped Discovery Shopping to create a revolutionary online shopping experience that captured the rich and enticing experience of window shopping. The goal of the project was to translate motivating elements of the real world experience into an online environment that promoted product discovery. 

We conducted user research and provided the information architecture and interaction design for a beautiful website launched in December 2013

 District 8 Home Page: www.district8.com/explore

District 8 Home Page: www.district8.com/explore

The challenges

Shopping in the real world continues to feel kinaesthetically rich, when compared to many online experiences. This is especially true when considering online stores that push products stripped of any significant experience, brand or product information, and in the process removing the visceral enjoyment associated with shopping.

In contrast, a well-designed physical shopping precinct is a multi-sensory experience.

 Copyright Cognitive Ink 2014.

Copyright Cognitive Ink 2014.

The concept of discovery-based shopping extends from the richness of the offline shopping experience. 

Early themes included design elements like Google Streetview, as this was intended to capture the ‘offline, real world’ nature of shopping.However, online experiences that literally replicate the real world (like Google Streetview) provide too little bandwidth to communicate the literal feel of the street. 

Further analysis suggested that a shopping experience on either end of the spectrum is not ideal, from a site that is too close to the offline experience of shopping or conversely is totally abstracted away from any shopping experience.

Later themes progressed towards a conceptual model that focused on the ‘flavours and tones’ of the offline experience, but provided the convenience and filtration power of the online environment.  

 Christopher in action.

Our approach

To understand what customers enjoyed about window shopping and what sparked their interest, we carried out a series of user-focused research activities. Taking the outcomes of these, we then ran internal workshops with the Discovery Shopping team, starting an iterative cycle of defining requirements, narrowing these down to design themes, and then providing the interaction design and architecture for the solution.

 

 

User themes

  • 56 % female
  • Social
  • Generally sophisticated from a fashion and online perspectives
  • Leans towards discovery over familiarity 
  • Desires unique experiences
  • Benefits from social recommendation
  • Shops at lunchtime breaks and on weekends

 

Design themes

  • Location awareness – The experience should use location as a key anchor point throughout the content. Much like news site provides section specific sub-branding; the location must ‘run through’ the site.
  • Relevance levers – The user must have easy access to relevance controls in the form of a survey, navigational control or other technique, to ensure they can filter the relevant stores for likely relevance.
  • Dopamine novelty – New information encourages the release of dopamine, which provides positive reinforcement for more information seeking activities. The site should encourage this novelty with new information, secondary journeys and imagery based content.
  • Store context – Use of various contextual indicators that give the flavour of a store, including: style, colour, brand imagery etc.
  • Large imagery - Promote and make use of large, eye-catching shop window imagery. Large images increase engagement by providing a larger field of view to the user. The real world window-shopping experience is fundamentally a visual activity, so the online environment must provide a visual experience. The most visible example of this type of image-focused design is Apple’s product pages.
  • Window context – Although the online site should avoid skeuomorphism (representing physical artifacts in a virtual environment), there is value if providing a sense of context, an awareness that the user is looking into a sequence of shop windows. This could be as subtle as including the shop window frames into the product imagery. This will also help localise and providing separate identity for each of the shops.
  • Avoid literal geographical imitations – A journey through an online environment is not identical to a geographical journey. Although we want to imitate the key elements of context associated with window-shopping, there may be little value in literally imitating the geographical arrangement of shops, or forcing the user to move across a map to move between shop windows.
  • Elegant treatment – Window-shopping in the world’s most popular shopping districts in an intrinsically elegant experience. The treatment must emulate this prestige.

 

Concepts

Initial sketch concepts explored crucial positioning of the filter based navigation.  

Search and filtration were a key value gained through District 8 being an online experience.

Various concepts were explored to reflect the breadth associated with the various real-world shopping precincts for the home page, which was considered the initial key entry point.

Later concepts focused on methods of exposing large scale imagery that evoked the detail of a precinct. 

 

The outcome

The Discovery Shopping team launched District 8 in 2013.

District 8 Home Page.jpeg

The Rocks

Tourism

Client: Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (working alongside Sputnik, a leading creative communications agency).

Location: Sydney, Australia

One of our favourite places in Sydney is the Rocks - a historic area steeped in culture and charm, and located right on the waterfront. So we were thrilled to work with Sputnik and the Sydney Foreshore Authority last year to develop the new website for the precinct.

Work completed by Cognitive Ink included the interaction design and information architecture of the new website. We also conducted domain research to best understand the history and aesthetics of the area and the reactions and emotions of its visitors.

 

Project background

The Rocks area has a distinctive and quirky sense of charm - some of its treasures include historic warehouse buildings, cute cafes, waterfront views, buskers and markets. The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority wanted to capture and reflect this in the web experience.

How can the web give someone the experience of a place? Let’s face it. Digital in general and the web in specific can be a thin experience. By thin we mean stripped of all the immersive sights, sounds and most importantly smells of a location. 

As much as we’ve occasionally had to resist the impulse to go the full Blumenthal on a digital experience, budget and practically usually outweighs it (see Heston Blumenthal for how you bring the sensations of the sea to a small restaurant in the middle of the UK). For the moment, the web is a primarily a visual experience. 

 

History of the Rocks precinct

Granted, it usually isn’t important to smell the head office of a large corporation (what would a head office smell like?). But what if the client represents one of the most iconic tourist and entertainment quarters in the largest capital city in Australia? 

This was the case with the Sydney Harbour Foreshore and their management of The Rocks. 

If you don’t know the story, The Rocks is a small area of the Sydney Foreshore that preserves a significant portion of the buildings, history and most importantly the spirit of energetic creativity from the 1800s and the foundation of the Sydney colony. 

 Source: Cognitive Ink, Copyright Cognitive Ink 2013

Source: Cognitive Ink, Copyright Cognitive Ink 2013

The Rocks is one of several fundamental cultural, tourist and heritage sites in Sydney. It has a long and storied history.

In the 1970s, under the pressure from both the NSW State government and development interests, a significant portion of The Rocks was to be demolished to make way for an entire district of large monolithic housing complexes rich with the brutalist, concrete cinder block style of the 1970s. Battle lines were drawn and the underprivileged working class people of The Rocks banded together with unlikely allies in the form of construction union supporters to demonstrate. 

 Source: http://www.therocks.com/history-and-heritage.aspx

Source: http://www.therocks.com/history-and-heritage.aspx

Through speeches, resistance (not always peaceable) and perseverance, the developments were compromised and The Rocks retained it’s unique heritage as a place for creativity, artisanal work, food and street fairs. 

 

The brief

Until 2013, the digital experience of The Rocks was sadly lagging behind in communicating both the history and the modern richness of the precinct. 

Working with Sputnik, we responded to a brief to radically re-think the digital experience of www.therocks.com its sister precinct around the corner at Darling Harbour (www.darlingharbour.com). 

 Previous website for the Rocks precinct (pre-2013)

Previous website for the Rocks precinct (pre-2013)

 

Information architecture

In project inception, we took to the streets of The Rocks; talking with both locals and tourists. Though relatively small, The Rocks is wonderful rabbit warren of twisting streets, cobblestones, old buildings and the waterfront. It became clear early on that the backbone of the digital experience should be centred on the rich and varied offerings, including: 

  • What to do
  • Where to stay, eat and drink. 
  • Where to shop. 
  • Things to explore. 
  • The Rocks Markets

Fusing on-the-ground feedback with user surveys, we developed a simple and scalable information architecture that placed Events, Food and Shopping at the forefront. 

 Information architecture for The Rocks website (Cognitive Ink)

Information architecture for The Rocks website (Cognitive Ink)

Exploring ideas for the site's navigation

We explored a number of options where the navigation itself was an experience that mimicked (metaphorically or literally) the winding experience of moving through the physical spaces of the precinct. 

 Ideas for the site's navigation

Ideas for the site's navigation

Although many of the ideas felt exciting and fresh, based on internal testing, they appeared to actually impeded interaction with the content and were abandoned in favour of a more straightforward horizontal navigational model. 

 Main menu in wireframe deign

Main menu in wireframe deign

 Main menu on final site

Main menu on final site

An emphasis on imagery

It was clear from user feedback and our own experiences in the precinct that large and expressive imagery was a crucial link between the digital experience and the real-world emotion.  We created full wireframes and an interactive prototype of the proposed site, gathering feedback from the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority as we went.

Our layout and design reflected this both at site wide and page-level, with an emphasis on imagery:

 Wireframe for the Rocks home page (Cognitive Ink)

Wireframe for the Rocks home page (Cognitive Ink)

 
 Wireframe for the Rocks event pages (Cognitive Ink)

Wireframe for the Rocks event pages (Cognitive Ink)

To make the best use of the developing solution, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority committed significant resources to commissioning rich photography assets from every one of the businesses within the precinct. 

The result was stunning. 

 The Rocks home page against wireframes designed by Cognitive Ink.

The Rocks home page against wireframes designed by Cognitive Ink.

Cognitive Ink has designed solutions with Sputnik/BWM Group for key client Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. They were able to quickly make sense of requirements and sprawling content and distil into a clear structure and user flow. The sophisticated Axure wireframes/prototypes for desktop & mobile have been an invaluable tool in bringing sites to life and enabling testing, validation and adjustment of the design before the build. Christopher is a pleasure to work with and his insight, skill and experience adds value to every project.
— Digital Producer at Sputnik/BWM, March 2015