Research · Concept
UX + Visual Design
fireOPS is a system designed to assist the fire departement during and after an operation.
An ergonomic workspace that ensures an overview of all the important information the user needs to see, gives the user a better work experience and lessens time consuming tasks.
*Note this video shows screens from an older version of the project.
*Click to skip to certain sections
When the fire departement gets informed of an emergency, everyone at the station drops anything they are doing and prepare immediately for the deployment.
Gain information fast
Here, the person needs to get a quick overview of the emergency, send out an alarm to other fire fighters and provide the keys to the vehicles needed.
Four independently running programs (documentation, radio and vehicle protocol, list of persons, navigation) are used in the operations centre, in which it is difficult to find one's way around. In general, the programs are poorly designed. The font sizes are too small. Icons and pictures are hardly used. Buttons are not arranged logically. Small distances between the contents cause confusion and a lot of white space is used.
Tedious documentation process
After finishing the operation the person in the control center needs to document the whole deployment by hand. In addition each squad leader delivers a sheet with information regarding people on each car and equipment that was in use.
Our revision of the workstation includes a software that combines all four programs with each other, as well as the implementation of an ergonomic workstation with two widescreen monitors arranged one above the other, thus making it possible to always have everything important at glance.
Only two monitors
Both monitors serve different purposes. The upper monitor mainly displays information like the car states, a map and information of an ongoing alarm.
The lower monitor serves as an „interaction area“. Here the user can take notes, document the deployment and provide helping information on fire detection systems and others for the fire fighters on site. By limiting the use of color and designing a calm UI, the person working can focus on their work without being distracted.
← Drag the handlebars to see what the different areas are
Showing information needed most during an alarm
With the start of an alarm the UI of the upper screen transitions. The view of all vehicles of surrounding municipalities switches to a smaller view showing the fleet of the current station making space for the automatic protocol which tracks the movement of vehicles being used in the deployment.
Tracking cars, radio calls and reports
Here the user can switch the view between the protocol, radio messages and an overview of the reports for each vehicle which will be filled out by the responsible leader of each vehicle.
When an alarm is triggered the system calculates a route immediately which can be send to the vehicles needed for the deployment.
The right hand side panel gives an overview of all necessary information regarding the alarm like the location, the corresponding danger level and the vehicles needed.
The main interaction area contains the report section were every alarm is shown and other pages including messages, settings, maps and contacts. Each new alarm automatically generates a new report and gets filled with collected data of vehicles and received reports from firefighters.
Saving time with automation
With this feature almost all of the current tedious documentation process gets automated with the person in the control center now only having to check the inserted data and add an additional report.
The notes area is a classic field for notes that are important for the documentation after an assignment is over. Since you no longer have to make notes with pen and paper, you can copy your notes to the documentation area immediately.
Additional information can be displayed on the side and be customized to each users liking. This can include a hazardous substance database, rescue guides and a fire alarm system overview.
Teaming up with the fire departement
In this project we kept close communication with a local firestation. By interviewing fire fighters and getting a tour at the firestation we were able to gain insights on what the work surrounding the firestation consists of, what problems occur and what processes could be optimized.
Close collaboration with actual users
Through shadowing we were able to gain insights on how a person works in the control center during a real emergency. With the help of interviews we were able to get a better understanding of the software used at the workspace and what information is really needed. By presenting ideas we generated we were able to tailor the workspace to the needs of the fire fighters.
Displaying information on limited space
During this project I really learned how difficult it is to put all the necessary information on limited space while still keeping the design clear and not overload it. Talking to real users and having to really dig into a problem area showed me how important it is to have actual users at hand.
Designing a pleasant user experience
Assigning myself a clear role in this project is rather difficult since we did all of the research and concept as a team. But I would certainly place my strength on the visual and conceptual side. Redesigning this project showed me how much I have progressed in the years and developed my skills further regarding user experience design and mostly the visual design.
© Jannis Wäder 2022