Scarlet Safewalk is a service at Boston University in which members of the student-run escort security service are available to walk with students to any on-campus destination late at night. One of the major pain-points of the service is that despite the call-in request phone number being on the back of all student IDs, a majority of the student body did not know that the service existed.
My task for this class project was to improve the service overall, with my focus on humanizing the request process by evaluating how we can make it easier for students to request and learn more about who would be walking with them.
When designing the prototype, my first step was to evaluate how we could re-design the request system. Knowing how popular ride-sharing services are within the college community, I decided to mimic the same user journey that one would use to request a ride.
Additionally, repeated motifs and branding decisions for the design system were used to ensure that the application was easily identifiable as part of the Boston University ecosystem, thus making it more approachable and appealing for student use. The Boston University graphics guide cites the use of Boston University Red and the sans-serif Whitney font to promote BU’s values as a “modern, confident, and dynamic university.” Repeating paw prints were also utilized to maintain a friendly and whimsical spirit within the app, especially acknowledging the feelings of fear some students may have when walking home at night. As such, a shortcut to the Boston University Police phone number is continually present on the application screen to eliminate any obstacles if there is a need to contact authorities while students are using the application.
Furthermore, recognizing the possible discomfort and uncertainties when meeting someone for the first time, an additional profile function was included in the digital service so that students would be able to have additional information about their escorts, humanizing the people behind the screen. Building off of this element, an in-app chat service was included to facilitate communication between the student and escort, in addition to a group escort feature with multiple students. The objective for the group walk function was to create a social element to the service, recognizing that students may feel more comfortable interacting with more people who are traveling to the same location, and that with the unusual school year due to COVID-19, students may want to meet peers that live near them.