SafePath

User research, Branding, UX/UI design, iconography, strategy, Usability testing

Client
Sector
Date
Team

Jen LaPlante
Accessibility Technology
2020-2021
Paul Guardia & Drew Tozer

Safepath is an app for people with impaired mobility or vision that maps obstructions on sidewalks to help users route a safe journey from point A to B.

The problem

Jen LaPlante, founder of Safepath, contacted Happy User to help create a user experience, user interface and brand for her app SafePath. SafePath is a startup that focuses on leveraging technology to make city wayfairing more accessible for everyone. Jen was looking to create a wireframe prototype of SafePath first before moving into full app programming and development.

The outcome

We delivered to Jen a full app wireframe prototype and provided a separate video file showing the app being used with interactive animations. Along with the app's prototype we also designed a logo and style guide for the SafePath brand.

What is Safepath?

Safepath empowers communities to leverage crowdsourced sidewalk data to plan safe and accessible routes to their destination. Safepath crowdsources information by encouraging communities to record sidewalk or pathway inconveniences, risks, or dangers.

Safepath users are provided with the ability to enter information about current obstructions, such as construction, unplowed snow, ice patches, and debris.

Anyone can enter an obstruction or hazard observations into Safepath. This data is then uploaded to Safepath, providing other users with notification of possible obstructions based on their planned route or a simple review of an area.

Sidewalks are a vital part of cities

Sidewalks act as conduits for pedestrian movement and access, they enhance connectivity and encourage walking. Safe, accessible, and proper sidewalk maintenance is a necessity for cities to increase their citizen's health and happiness, and also maximize their social capital.

Many obstructions, hazards and safety issues regarding sidewalks are unpreventable and on occasion necessary for city development. The major culprits for sidewalk inaccessibility arise from three general categories: construction, environmental hazards and safety adverse areas.

Pedestrians with impaired mobility and vision face these obstructions head on, putting their lives in danger while they navigate their city. Inaccessible and hazardous sidewalks are a top problem for pedestrians with accessibility needs. Without knowing what sidewalks are safe and hazard free, it is difficult to decide what the safest route is.

Interviews

We conducted accessibility research for the SafePath app, and interviewed potential users. Some of these users were blind and others with impaired mobility. Through this research we were able to make appropriate design decisions for our user's needs when designing the wireframe prototype. Through these interviews we also affirmed the demand for an app like SafePath. Both people with disabilities and policy makers see the great potential that SafePath could have on people's safety and autonomy.

“Wow this is so exciting. I have been wanting something like this for years. I myself have been totally blind since birth and have used both a white cane and guide dog for mobility. I use iphones and computers and run a program teaching other blind Canadians to use technology.”

Blind future app user

“We often do not consider the visually impaired. We have made efforts in the past five years to be more accessible. We have sidewalks with tactile plates and crosswalks with chirps and lights with signals but we often forget other aspects that can impact access. If we could see where there is a long delay for snow removal, that can help us better understand our service priorities, We could change where we put our priorities.”

City Director of Public Works