Data Visualization for Improving Health and Public Safety

Tools Used: Sketch, InVision, Paper and Pen

Skills Used: Research, Competitive Analysis, User Interviews, Usability Testing, Data Visualization, Prototyping, Wireframing, Client Management

 
 The FIVAR Dashboard including the desktop view for managers and tablet view for inspectors.

The FIVAR Dashboard including the desktop view for managers and tablet view for inspectors.

 

Improving Efficiency and Effectiveness of Health Inspections

The Challenge

My design partner and I worked with Open Data Nation, a local start up and certified B Corp. Open Data Nation provides open data consulting services to city governments. We were asked to design a dashboard for health inspector managers to view and organize data from the FIVAR application. 

MY ROLE

Using Open Data Nation's existing user interviews, I completed research analysis, and developed user task flows and personas. Along with my design partner, I created sketches and wireframes, built a prototype in Invision, and completed rapid validation of designs with users. 

The Solution

A web application that helps health inspector managers prioritize work, evaluate performance, and predict health code violations. 

Outcome

The FIVAR Application prototype has been built by Open Data Nation for five cities and will be included in a GIS mapping software suite available to 100+ cities. I am currently working with Open Data Nation to apply similar technology to predict traffic accidents and prioritize interventions.

Predict and Prioritize

The Product

The FIVAR application uses open data such as 311 calls, Yelp data, and previous inspection reports to prioritize restaurant inspections based on the probability of finding a health code violation. Open Data Nation piloted the product in Montgomery County, Maryland, and the application found 27% more violations 3 days sooner for an estimated labor cost savings of $2 million. 

Discovery Phase

Research Analysis

Open Data Nation came to us with existing formative research including notes from 60 interviews. Because of the tight timeline of the project, I picked up where they left off. My design partner and I took their notes and completed an analysis to define the problem statement and user pain points

System.jpg
My Role
When looking at user pain points and defining a problem, I like to look at the whole environment. I like to examine what is happening in activities, outputs, and outcomes.
1. At the activity level- What are people doing?
2. At the output level- What effect is this having?
3. At the outcome level- How does this effect the system as a whole?

Understanding the Context

In addition to analyzing the notes from formative interviews, I spoke to health inspectors, data visualization experts, and joined webinars for city officials using open data. I wanted to understand the context and get up to speed on the current trends in open data and data visualization.

A System-Wide challenge

Once we looked at pain points and their effect on the system, we were able to define the problem. 

System and budget constraints result in less accurate, less effective inspections measured by quantity, not quality.

A 2- Way Design Solution

Designing the Solution

A user-centered solution needed to address all pain points within the system, including improving efficiencies in budgeting and staffing, increasing engagement of both managers and inspectors and improving consistency in employee evaluation. The solution needed to include a feedback loop between inspectors and managers. 

 Based on user pain points within the system, the user-centered solution incorporated both the manager and inspector work flows.

Based on user pain points within the system, the user-centered solution incorporated both the manager and inspector work flows.

Incorporating Business Requirements

The solution we identified based on our user-centered design analysis did not meet the current business requirements. The ongoing proposal required a one-way data dashboard for managers to view prioritized restaurants and inspector performance. Based on our user interviews, we anticipated future clients would ask for the features we identified, and we agreed with our client to start with a Minimum Viable Product that could be expanded and modified based on client needs.

Designing the MVP

 We began by designing the minimal features needed for a user to begin using the FIVAR application. 

We began by designing the minimal features needed for a user to begin using the FIVAR application. 

My Role
My teammate and I were working closely together to sketch, ideate, and prototype the initial screens.

(Click the images below to expand.)

The main dashboard includes a list view of prioritized inspections based on likelihood of finding a violation. From here, a manager can open a restaurant card for more details, view compliance status, see the probability of a violation, and assign an inspector.

We originally designed an assignments tool for managers to set itineraries for inspectors. Ultimately, we determined this wasn't the right solution.

We designed the dashboard to toggle to a map view for users who prefer to see to the data in space. Clicking on a map marker opens a pop up with additional details. 

The MVP includes information on the inspectors and their performance indicators.

Rapid Validation with User Testing

Usability Testing

After we built the MVP, we met with a health inspector manager at a local Department of Health and Human Services. We traveled to his office for a user interview and usability test. Many of our solutions fit his pain points, and he was impressed by the prototype. However, we completely missed the mark on designing for his work flow for scheduling inspection assignments. While we had designed the tool for managers to set schedules and push them to inspectors, his department let inspectors set their own schedules. 

My Role
During our trip to the Department of Health and Human Services, I led a usability test. I quickly realized that testing in the field is challenging. It is important to consider things like access to wifi and your user's familiarity with the technology you are testing with before you arrive.

 

Designing A Scalable Solution

Based on our user interviews and research, my teammate felt strongly that the FIVAR dashboard needed to include two way communication between the manager and the inspectors. Because the algorithm needs to be tailored to a city specific to their open data resources, I saw an opportunity for the FIVAR dashboard to be scalable based on the client. We decided to  produce the necessary designs to build a system that could be built for both a short-term solution and a long-term change management tool. 

My Role As we were finalizing deliverables, I refined the user flows and use cases, and built outstanding wireframes. I wanted to make sure we were testing our designs for the context of the user.
 The main manager login screen, map view, list view to see high priority restaurants. 

The main manager login screen, map view, list view to see high priority restaurants. 

 The final design included user flows for either the manager or the inspector setting the inspection schedule. In these screens, the manager is able to observe the performance of health inspectors. The manager receives notifications if an inspector is delaying high priority restaurants.

The final design included user flows for either the manager or the inspector setting the inspection schedule. In these screens, the manager is able to observe the performance of health inspectors. The manager receives notifications if an inspector is delaying high priority restaurants.

 We designed mobile screens for a health inspector to view prioritized restaurants and set their itinerary.

We designed mobile screens for a health inspector to view prioritized restaurants and set their itinerary.

Making the Pitch

We presented our work to the client by starting with the MVP and then moving back to the initial problem statement and our view of the best possible design solution. We packaged all of the materials as a scalable product that could be flexible and change based on user needs. 

Outcomes

Our final prototype was presented at DC Tech's Women in Tech Meetup. It was great seeing the full product presented on the big screen. 

FIVAR has been developed internally for 5 cities and is soon to be offered in a suite of GIS software available to 100+ cities. I am currently working with Open Data Nation to expand the idea for private sector applications and to expand into adjacent spaces.

 

 

 

Lessons Learned

This project was an incredible learning experience for me. Not only did I learn more about restaurant inspections than I ever needed to know, but I was exposed to a whole new world of open data. I grew leaps and bounds in terms of personal and professional growth by working on such a challenging project. 

Here's what I learned:

  1. Be Organized. I learned just how many documents you accumulate working on a client project. In order to work effectively, it is absolutely essential to have an established file structure and have intuitive naming conventions. It essential for effective and efficient handoff to have your Sketch files grouped and labeled meticulously and your wireframes annotated.
  2. Design with your developers in mind. We met with our client after our presentation, and she requested a handful of changes to the design with the justification, "it will be hard to code." As designers, it is easy to want to design elements that are graphic and beautiful. It is important to remember that your original design might not be worth the extra hours it will take for someone to build it. 
  3. You will not always have user research. As a user experience designer, I want to start every project by talking to users. Frequently, timelines and constraints will prevent you from doing this. It is important to try your best to complete user research, but there is also a wealth of information to be found via outside sources and expert interviews. 
  4. Your designs are not your own. Do not get attached. It is easy to become attached to something you've spent days designing, but it is important to put your work in front of others and allow them to be critical. If you can't strongly defend a design choice by explaining its utility, you need to let it go. Design is just as much about what you didn't include.  
  5. When working with a difficult client, they are the head and you are the neck. When you've discovered a solution that is contradictory to your client's ask, you need to direct their attention and walk them through your findings. By presenting your process, research, and analysis and showing them the same information you used to come to a conclusion, you are more likely to turn their head in the direction the product needs to go.