Stop the Bleed

Educate people on helping victims during emergencies

Summary: Stop the Bleed is a voice-controlled app that empowers bystanders to help victims during emergencies such as mass shootings. It was designed and developed within 24 hours and placed 2nd out of 88 project submissions at a Dubhacks hackathon, the largest collegiate hackathon in the Pacific Northwest. My roles included secondary research, ideation, UI design, and presentation design.

Date: October 2016

Credits: Devin Bell (developer), Eric Yan (developer), Valerie Najera (designer)

Related Link: Demo (on Rapid API Blog)

Recognition: DubHacks 2nd Place Winner

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Project Motivation

“Last year in the U.S. there were 372 incidents in which four or more people were killed or wounded, with a toll of 475 deaths and 1,870 injuries…

— “‘Stop the Bleed’: Movement Trains Bystanders to Help During Shootings”, 2016)

A person can bleed to death in four minutes. In fact, 35% of emergency victims die due to severe bleeding before they get to a hospital in emergency situation.

Despite this urgency, current bleed control infographics are text heavy and require too much cognitive load in a highly stressful situation.

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Infographics offered by the Department of Homeland Security

The Design

During emergencies, people tend to be “waiting for instructions from an authority figure. (“What Your Brain Does in an Emergency”, 2016)

The secondary research inspired to develop an app that could act as a voice-controlled authority figure. The app uses decision trees to alert the authorities (e.g. 911 and the police), survey the situation, and give relevant information in easily understandable pieces.

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image source

The app pairs with a smartphone for situations like robbery in which people cannot speak. The phone application has the same functionalities but with visual elements to instruct victims.

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phone UI mockups
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Final round presentation in front of 4 judges and 300+ DubHacks participants

Future Design Implications

While our prototype overall received positive feedback, it can further improve in many ways.

Alexa currently requires an outlet for usage. Due to constraints, our team prototyped the voice-interface with Alexa but we hope that it can be integrated with a phone (e.g. ‘Ok Google’) for better portability and usage.

(A real conversation happened between me and someone)

Person A: I like the design!

Me: Thanks! Do you think you would download and use this app on your phone?

Person A: No, not really.

Tools that don’t get used at the right time are useless. In other words, this app becomes pointless if it does not get used during unexpected situations. To combat this issue, I pitch an idea of an amber alert style notification feature. Similar to Waze and Google Maps, if someone reports an emergency, people within that area will be notified about the situation regardless whether they have installed the app on their phones. However, this solution should consider the question of verifying the situation to prevent false alarms.

Final Thoughts

First-time attending a hackathon was indeed intense — sleepless discussions, frequent frustrations, and lots of swag hoarding. Nevertheless, I was glad to practice working under pressure, collaborating with developers and be inspired by other team’s work. It also made me think: if this what my team could create in 24 hours, imagine how much impact we can make with more time.

Saper Vedere

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