Mobile App Prototyping
The above prototype, done in Adobe XD, was for a app intended specifically for an Android pad. It was an app to be used by prison guards as they went about their tasks of doing head counts and checking on the health of inmates. The beauty of being able to do rough prototypes like this is that they help clarify sometimes unclear requirements. The act of building actually helps you think better. You learn by making. Prototypes also help the Sales team make early presentations, and collect early feedback from the customer when the tool is not actually built yet. The video demonstration of the above prototype actually kept us in the running for the bid! Prototype early, and prototype often.
This software app was intended for use on Android pads carried by correctional officers needing to perform four basic functions:
- Wellness Checks
- Head Counts
- and looking up Inmate Info.
The client was a county jail whose correctional officers (COs) performed their duties manually from Microsoft Excel printouts:
- Printouts are not living documents and can often be out of date the moment after they are printed.
- Notes made to printouts need to be manually transcribed into a computer at a later point for records and reporting.
- Notes made to printouts may be inaccurate via human error.
- Printouts do not always contain thorough information, as that would be too bulky to carry.
The client wanted to harness modern technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID) and mobile apps to make their operations more efficient and accurate. As an engineering company specializing in RFID technology, we put in a bid to provide a solution for them.
- The jail would have RFID tags strategically placed around the facility to mark locations. (I was not invloved in this part.)
- There existed the option was to have the inmates wear robust bracelets that could be tracked and scanned. (I was not involved in this part.)
- The CTO tasked me with creating the UI to support the four CO functions—1.Rounds, 2.Wellness Checks, 3.Head Counts, and 4.Inmate Info—on an Android pad, which I did by:
— clarifying requirements with the engineering team.
— documenting use cases.
— storyboarding CO journeys.
— rapid prototyping the four functions using Adobe XD.
— collaborating with front and back-end engineers as they needed support while coding the app out.
- My Adobe XD demo was easy to understand and pleasing to the client such that we earned a place in the bid.
- The prototype was an early oppportunity to get more feedback from the client.