112 Where ARE U

Easy UI for emergency situations

How to communicate efficiently with call takers during an emergency?

At Design Group Italia I worked on the design of the official smartphone app of the Emergency Number 112. The app provides a special function called “mute call”, which lets the user ask for help even in a situation where he isn’t able to speak. The call is placed simply by selecting the function and then the type of help required (police, ambulance, firefighters). The operator will be notified that the user cannot speak, but thanks to the position received from the system he will be able to send help.

I started from the analysis of the original app and aimed to streamline the process from opening it to placing the call, reducing at the same time the clutter from the home screen to leave only the necessary elements to focus on.

I made a rough prototype to test the interactions and validate the idea with internal user testing, to make sure that the 2-steps selection (type of call > type of emergency) was easy to understand.

It was also useful to communicate the desired behaviour of the interaction to the developers and check the feasibility of it.

After selecting the type of call (mute, normal or chat) it is also possible to specify the kind of emergency: health, fire, law enforcement. The dispatcher will see this information even before taking up the call.

We paid special attention in the design of the app UI, given the context in which it will be used, by analyzing the psychological and emotional states that guide the actions of people when they are in an emergency. The app is designed to minimize the possibility of errors and to make it as quick and easy as possible to make a call.

Where Are U is created by Beta80, a premier software company with decades of experience in emergency management.

— Outcomes

The app has been downloaded more than 500.000 times on Android alone, with an average user rating of 4,5 ★. It has been featured live on the Italian national TV channel Rai1.