001 : Project iCOV

"It was a lot of fun to start a project for iCOV from scratch and working our way to presenting it to the entire team of iCOV."

Jim Boomkens

Introduction

Project iCOV was a data driven UX/UI re-design that was focussed on creating a new improved interface for the workers at iCOV to make it easier to look through the big realitionship data sets. The ideas that me and my team come up with a concept that could be used in future projects at iCOV.

Research

iCOV is a company that specifies in researching unexplainable criminal activites. They use a system called relationship scans where they connect the dots between a person and there formal relationships. These relationships scans can get really big really easily. The data inside of a relationship scan is split up into 3 different layers.(Person X → Person X company→ Person X shared company → shared company partner) Getting specific information about people like social security numbers are only available for people who work for the goverment. It takes iCOV a long time to get this information because they need to get into contact with workers at the goverment and this takes time. Making an automatic system for this will improve the UX a lot. After all our research we created 3 user cases focussed on 3 different goals of archieving information.

User Case 1: Collection

User Case 2: Supervision

User Case 3: Detection

User problems

Workers at iCOV were complaining that their current interface was confusing and that it cost a lot of time to get work done. Finding information in the relationship scan was really confusing when the data sets got really big. Getting work done took a long time because workers at iCOV needed a lot of time to find information in the big data sets. It was up to us to find a solution for this problem.

Improving the UI

After all the research and a few meetings with the people of iCOV, my team and I decided that we did not want to completely get rid of the current interface from iCOV. Many workers at iCOV were already used to their current interface and abruptly changing their interface completely would not be a fix of a problem for the workers at iCOV but a new complicating interface to learn. So my team and I decided that instead of creating a new interface for iCOV, we were going to make their current interface more interactive and easier to use. A big part of that would be: creating a visual encoding for the many variables inside of the relationship scan. Also we would be adding an interface were the workers at iCOV can select wich variables they want to see inside of the relationship scan, adding this option will improved their system a lot. The complete design proces can be found here. (Note: document is in Dutch.)

Visual encoding

Looking at the given data sets, my team and I decided to give a visual encoding to all the variables in the data sets. The visual encoding was a process of trial and error that kept getting improved overtime while different prototypes were created and tested.

iCOV visual encoding.

Sketch 1:What came first in mind when I thought of a relationship scan,

Sketch 2: A lo-fi sketch of what the interface could look like.

V.1:Displaying relationships between suspects by overlapping circles.

V.2:Displaying relationships between suspects by showing the relationships in the first layer in smaller groups and the second and third layer by individuals.

V.3:Displaying relationships by showing smaller connections as a group instead of individuals. This helps a lot with keeping the relationshipscan clear. We eventually went for V.3 because when the relationship scan got bigger, this was the best way to keep everything clear.

V.4:Displaying relationships between suspects by showing the relationships in the first layer in smaller groups and the second and third layer floating around in small groups.

Final Prototype:A fully customizable interface were user can hide and show the information which they are seeking.