I worked with a startup that creates communication solutions for the incarcerated.
The CEO had an idea for a system that monitors and manages devices worn by inmates. The system enables facility staff to track usage and biometrics. He asked that I help him create a prototype that he could present to investors.
I collaborated with the CEO on this project. I contributed research, rapidly prototyped, and presented in meetings.
The CEO and I started off with a kickoff meeting. Considering my previous experience, we shared insights on creating tech for law enforcement. I gathered information, built a list of criteria, and took note of constraints. From there I performed market research to analyze key traits of successful MDMs. I identified common design patterns and documented them. By request, instead of developing personas, I focused on admin roles. I constructed an alpha information architecture of the system. My focus was on documenting all primary and secondary nav content. I rapidly prototyped and presented to the CEO. Continuous feedback and discussions drove iterations. My final deliverable was a medium fidelity prototype. The project paused to focus on a different project.
For this project to be successful the prototype should be able to:
- Track and manage device usage
- Manage apps and OS’s
- Provide device and content analytics
- Track biometric data
- Track financial data
My approach for this project was to focus on making the UI usable, useful, and valuable. To achieve this the UI must have:
- Actionable next steps at a glance
- Ability to scale to track hundreds or thousands of Users
Some constraints included:
- A lightweight interface requiring minimal interaction from staff
- User unfamiliarity with technology
Alpha Information Architecture
Low Fidelity Prototypes
The first wireframes focused on the Monitor and Financial pages. I followed Material Guidelines with regards to the Data Table and Expansion Panel. App functionality is basic:
- Search and/or select an inmate to track and configure their device settings.
- Select one or more inmate to manage or run user report.
- View high-level financial data and statements
Mo Data, Mo Space
I learned that more data will display in the table. I explored displaying content in a modal and added the ability to apply filters. I learned that Admin Users will screen the communication apps on the wearable device. I explored ways to display content within the data table (popover). I added the ‘Device Management’ page and explored ways to display data (charts, bar, etc.)
Expand and Collapse
I realized that side panels would be the better choice than a modal. It would allow more screen real estate and also not block content. I reverted back to data displaying in a side panel that opens and closes when an inmate is selected.
I also explored an expandable and collapsible filter ‘side rail’. It would add extra screen real estate.
I placed the 'screening' feature within the data table. This would allow the Admin Users to investigate and track at a glance without leaving the page.
Personas Guide Decisions
Even though the project went well, I learned that I should've pushed for the creation of personas. During the discovery phase, I created a list of Users I wanted to explore. Each User had specific tasks and pain points that would’ve informed the design.
I’m writing a retrospective case study. My new findings call for an Outcomes Management System. This system could support prisoner reentry programs.