In the Fall of 2019, Google's Crisis Response Team collaborated with SCADpro to design for communities communicating and responding to times of crisis. 15 students from 9 different countries, with google's professions as mentors, conducted research and developed concepts that could solve the problem in a useful and feasible way. From the process, we learned from each other, and most importantly, we learned from the users.
I specifically worked on analyzing the stakeholders involved and the service ecosystem around them, and prototyping. Also, I helped with research and synthesis.
How might we enable local communities to organize and help each other in times of crisis?
Google Raise, a set of features living under Google Search, that allow users to donate either time or money to verified relief programs, post stories of what's happening around the community, and check how communities have dealt with disasters in the past and present around the world. All of the features raise the public's awareness of the disaster occurring and the people in need.
To kick off our research process we began by listing the main components surrounding the theme of crisis. This addressed questions of who are involved, what news sites are people using, what cities are doing, and more. We first did secondary research to see what was already there and then conduct interviews with stakeholders identified from the last step.
The team conducted 42 user interviews ranging from those who have experienced or evacuated from a crisis, or have family and friends who have been affected. We reached out to nine organizations, including CEMA (Chatham Emergency Management Agency) and the Savannah Animal Shelter, to understand better their processes and protocols. From a list of research questions, we approached the interviews using a long-form and in-depth format.
We clustered the data points into similar themes which allowed us to see observations that surfaced and developed them into actionable insights. Here are a few examples of data points..
People need emotional support in times of crisis. Communicating and sharing experiences with others could relieve stress and anxiety. People have some common fears around unpredictable natural disasters.
Donations are crucial for relief organizations. People want to help those in need but don't know where to donate or what to donate. Also, they worry about the transparency of the donating process.
Some people prepare surplus resources and some don't have enough, a connection between them is missing. The information exchange among different relief organizations needs to be more efficient.
We used archetypes to form groups composed of our interviewees so that we could better understand them.
Users were sorted by their actions, motivations, and emotions before, during, and after a weather crisis event to develop these groups: The People-Person, The Individualist, The Distressed, and The Apathetic. One thing to remember is that we were designing with extreme cases in mind and the majority of our target users fell in the middle.
Google Raise can be accessed directly from Search. Google Raise allows people from across the globe to donate their money and time to relief organizations that can help communities affected by disasters. In addition, people that have been affected by disaster can post their stories to the Community Stories feature, allowing their experiences to be seen globally. Finally, Raise’s explore feature allows you to see how communities have dealt with disasters in the past and present around the world.
Google Raise facilitates the donation process by allowing users to watch ads that will turn into monetary donations or by directly donating money. Users are also encouraged to share fundraisers they support with their community to help to generate funds faster.
Explore is a platform for users to discover current and past crises around the world. It provides information on the crisis, fundraisers supporting victims of the crisis, and Community Stories related to the chosen crisis.
Stories allows users inside or outside the affected areas to be aware of what's happening and be prepared in real-time. Content is sourced from social media posts as well as people currently residing in the affected areas.