Case Study

AskScout
iPhone App

Creating a tool to communicate potential
safety risks near your current location and
the places you care about most


Company

AskScout

Role

Head of Product & Design

Release

2021

Type

Mobile

Industry

Safety


The problem

Americans fear for their safety

According to a recent study conducted by Chapman University, about 30% of Americans are afraid or very afraid for their personal safety against violent crimes. At the same time, homicide rates across the United States have also increased by 30%. The correctional between the two makes sense why people are afraid.


Competition & Opportunity

Current products only
focus on past crime

Whether viewed on the local news, social media, a crime mapping website, or a crime app, most people can stay informed about recent crimes occurring in their city. But
with each of these outlets, information is generalized to the community, potentially omitting some details. Similarly, viewers
are only informed about crimes that have occurred, leaving them to keep mental notes to help them at each moment.

Am I safe right now illustration

Strategic Goal

Utilizing the AskScout Risk Score, develop a tool to communicate current and forecasted levels of risk for
a specific location and time
of day.

AskScout Logo

AskScout Mission

Help users become
more aware of their surroundings to make better, safer decisions and reduce their fear for personal safety.

Device Requirements

Not all users share their
exact location

As a result of recent privacy trends and tech companies developing new features to protect user information, users can customize the amount of location data they are comfortable sharing with each application. Due to these new device requirements, a best-in-class product needs to provide an engaging experience regardless of the amount of
shared location data from a mobile device.


Communicating Risk

Location-specific risk information
accessible via iOS

Through feature development
and continuous shipping, we’ve developed an iOS application that communicates current and forecasted levels of potential risks calculated using the AskScout risk measurement system.

Risk Score

Communicating risk to the hour

Motivated by the question of “Am I safe
right now?” we’ve focused our efforts on communicating current levels of risk to users. By leveraging shared location data, each risk score uses recent nearby incidents to calculate the potential risk for the present hour, providing the best understanding of potential risks right now, where someone is standing or near any location of interest.

Risk Details

Organizing risk by
user-friendly categories

Finding valuable details can be difficult with large amounts of data. For this reason, similar crime types are grouped into user-friendly categories, helping us calculate focused risk scores. After averaging each score into a single overall score, users can quickly understand the general risks of their location and dive deeper into each different type of risk.

Risk Map

Exploring risk across the city

"What about the risks of where I am going? Will I be safe?" By developing map features, users can quickly search or drop pins to access current risk information for each
place of interest.

Risk Notifications

Staying aware of current risks

Since risk consistently changes throughout the day, it becomes difficult to know when it might spike. By developing features to notify users when risk changes, users can stay updated as it fluctuates throughout the day.

Risk Personalization

Customizing risk into
a unique score

With the wide variety of crimes occurring throughout a city, not all users are concerned about the same types of incidents. By developing customization features, users
can personalize the overall risk score by
only activating each risk type that concerns them the most.


Key Learnings

Learning and building
helped us innovate

As feature development progressed, key learnings helped us continually improve the user experience and communicate detailed risk information.

Key Learnings 1
Crime Statistics Illustration

Users need to see what
calculates each score

When viewing risk for a location, we found that users quickly understood which categories had higher risk levels but weren’t sure what types of incidents calculated that risk. By displaying recent incident amounts alongside each score, users can now understand the details that comprise that score.

Key Learnings 2
Risk Curve Illustration

Users need to see how
current risk compares

When viewing the risk for the current time, users were curious how it compared to the rest of the day. Inspired by how weather apps communicate daily temperatures, we have begun implementing new features to calculate daily high, low, and average scores of a location to provide users more context of their current risk levels and how they compare.

Key Learnings 3
Crime Trends Illustration

Users want to see how the
location is trending

When viewing the current risk for a location, it was difficult to understand if that risk was improving or getting worse. By displaying incident statistics alongside each incident amount, users can understand which incidents to be concerned about most and how they are trending at that location.


Early Insights

Risk is not always in
the front of our minds

Learning how users think of risk has helped inform a better business strategy.

With the mentality to quickly prototype and learn, our team has consistently live-tested each release in San Francisco, helping us gather feedback and evaluate how users think of risk. As a result, we’ve found that most users are not constantly worried about risks. Instead, their worry creeps up when they are outside their usual routines and in places they don’t know. With this insight, we’ve been able to tailor our business strategy to focus on specific markets while shipping the beta release of our product.

With the mentality to quickly prototype and learn, our team has consistently live-tested each release in San Francisco, helping us gather feedback and evaluate how users think of risk. As a result, we’ve found that most users are not constantly worried about risks. Instead, their worry creeps up when they are outside their usual routines and in places they don’t know. With this insight, we’ve been able to tailor our business strategy to focus on specific markets while shipping the beta release of our product.


Next steps

Continuing to learn
and improve

With an MVP beta product released, the focus has now shifted from feature development to refinement, continuously learning along
the way to make improvements.

Engaging users with insights

As we focus on acquiring users for our beta release, attention towards new features that provide insights into risk has grown.

Email Insights Illustration

Viewable account details
across products

As users continue to save locations and personalize their risk settings, we want to ensure all account information is accessible across each
AskScout product.

User Accounts Illustration

Continuing to refine features

With an MVP product released in beta form, our goal is to refine each feature with user feedback and continuously learn how user’s think of risk, helping us iterate and improve the effectiveness of each score.

Feature Refinement Illustration

Thanks for
taking a look!

Portfolio

Similar projects
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other work I’ve
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