Client: Misty Burch
My Role: UX/UI design

Timeline: 4 weeks
Tools used: Figma, Miro, Maze

The Challenge

Those navigating a city with physical disabilities more often than not come across faulty infrastructures. This may affect their safety negatively or impede their route. The disabled community is often overlooked, they want their voice to be heard and action to be taken. There is currently no app to alert those with disabilities about inaccessible public locations or faulty infrastructure. 

The Opportunity

Paveaway can help those with physical disabilities navigate environmental barriers that obstruct their path. The ability to report faulty infrastructures, increasing their safety and quality of life in their community.


Research Goals

  1. Discover reporting behaviors of users with varied disabilities 
  2. Identify motivations and frustrations with their current reporting process

Assumptions Before Starting 

As a team, we wanted to discuss any assumptions we had before research. This way we can see what we learned from research and avoid bias:

“Only wheelchair users will be using the app.”
“Users are dialing 311 and are not getting the help they need.”
“Will able-bodied people also contribute to the app?”

Secondary Research Findings

Transportation drives the economy, connecting 7.9 million business establishments with customers, suppliers, and workers.

One billion people, or 15% of the world’s population experience a form of disability. The transportation safety of those with disabilities depends on the cities urban planning, community awareness, and individual reporting.

Poor sidewalk infrastructure impacts ALL people and their safety:

  • Abled bodied people
  • Those with disabilities
  • Micro commuters (people who travel on bikes, scooters, and skateboards)


Competitor Research

We discovered direct competitors had very similar interfaces and features that included:

  • Clean, accessible UI
  • Route or discovery map
  • Ability to pin locations
  • Focus on the community to upload information
  • Filters for accessibility

Understanding Users

We interviewed 8 participants with a variety of disabilities, gaining insights into their daily commuting experience in and outside of their community. After the interviews, I gathered my findings together to create an empathy map.

  • Users are concerned for their safety
  • Feels that the government does not do enough to address their concerns
  • All users use a mobility aid, mainly a wheelchair
  • Users are unsatisfied with current reporting procedures


Meet James, The Self Advocator 

This persona is based on the research and insights gained from user interviews. James often comes across faulty infrastructure on his route to a local coffee shop. He wishes there was a simpler way to report incidences on his route and see actual change.


I discovered through a storyboard that James would come across 3 stages on his route:

  1. Searching and routing to the coffee shop
  2. Discovering a broken sidewalk and going home to report
  3. Waiting weeks and never hearing back if the sidewalk was repaired or not

I then explored James experience using Paveaway on his route:

  1. Search and route to the coffee shop
  2. Report the broken sidewalk at the scene
  3. Receive a confirmation when the report is repaired

Journey Mapping 

This journey map shows James' experience using Paveaway and the opportunities that come from it. To avoid scope creep, I created a feature road map, prioritizing the findings from the journey map as well as business and technical goals. 

Scenario: James sets his route to a local coffee shop. On his way there he comes across a broken sidewalk. 
Expectations: A clear and easy way to submit a report, receive status updates, and resolved reports in a timely manner. 



Learning Moment 

Due to our timeline, we decided to do a round of Crazy 8’s to brainstorm features and work out any questions we had. Ideally, we would have prioritized paper wireframing. It would be more beneficial because we had several design choices that needed to work out as a team.

Accessible By Design 

While creating the UI, I checked the accessibility of our design choices by checking the color palette contrast, typography sizing, and chose images that reflected the diversity of our users and their disabilities. I created a mood board with a lot of colors to see if the contrast levels were appropriate. 


Logo Design

Going with the direction of bold and empowering I chose a cobalt blue, a color often associated with accessibility. For the logo, I wanted to create a name that was positive, literally paving away any faulty infrastructures for users.


Creating The Design System 

Before we started working together on the high-fidelity wireframes, I led the design system team. This helped us to work faster and have a consistent look for the whole project. Once the high-fidelity frames were ready, we tested our prototype before recruiting users to work out any last-minute kinks.



Usability Testing

We gathered 6 participants for moderated testing to check the overall design decisions and the following flows:

  • Signup/Login
  • Routing
  • Reporting
  • Rerouting
  • Report summary


Key Findings

Overall, the app was visually appealing to users and they were thrilled to have a way to conveniently report a broken sidewalk. During affinity mapping, we discovered their main pain points centered around the reporting flow.

Pain point: The report icon was difficult for users to recognize.
Opportunity: Include how to report in the onboarding process, highlighting where the report icon is located. 


Pain point: Most users were unsure what the material of the sidewalk was. This screen had the most misclicks as it was not clear to users how the reporting process worked. They used the photo and pin drop. 
Opportunity: Structure the information in a clear, visual way that only includes the highest priority of information needed for reporting. Fewer steps for the users!


The Final Iteration


I would like to run a usability test for the high-priority revisions to further improve the overall design and usability.

It was a great learning experience to work in a team and I look forward to learning from more designers. This project was a great opportunity for me to learn about accessibility and the disabled community, I hope to be mindful of this going forward with any project.


Interested in working together? Let's connect!