Project Frida

Austin, TX | July — September 2018

Project Frida

Providing teachers and their classrooms the tools to find their way in an emergency.

Project Frida (named after the famed rescue dog) was created as a response to the 2018 Call for Code competition. Project Frida consists of two offerings - a mobile app enabled by powered by Watson Studio AI and an IoT device with a Gyroscope sensor, heat sensor, and a camera. My role on the team as the lead UX designer was to conduct research, align the development team around the user experience, and design the visuals for the mobile application.


The challenge for our team was to out-think natural disasters and build solutions that would significantly improve the current state of disaster preparedness in our community and around the world. The major areas of concern we identified from our research were:

  • Higher risk of danger due to a severe lack of proper preparation.
  • Limited knowledge on navigating a disaster and the unpredictability of the aftermath.
  • Painfully slow recovery operations from significant economic, environmental, and personal loss.


The users we chose to focus on for this project were educators and EMS workers.

  • Educators — The needs of educators was our primary focus, as they already have enough to worry about with taking care of their students. When a disaster strikes, it is not only their lives to protect, but the lives of their students as well.

  • EMS worker — The secondary user is the EMS worker, who would need to establish contact quickly with the teacher or classroom should an emergency occur. 


Before jumping to a solution or wire-framing, I needed a sense of what this service could be by understanding what similar services were already being used. I conducted my own competitive research on similar services existing in the the world today, with their innovations and pitfalls alike to see what patterns already existed and users knew, as well as what could be improved upon. From there my next steps were sketching pen & paper then moving to Sketch to build out the flows for both the educator and EMS worker.


Based on the problem pain points from the unique perspectives and stressors of our users, Project Frida was created to establish a system that could assist a civilian to prepare, navigate, and recover from a natural disaster with more efficiency.

Project Frida won the internal IBM competition, and was awarded the chance to develop a fully built, tested, and accessible system with the IoT sensor and mobile application to be used in schools and universities.

To learn more about Project Frida and the Call for Code competition, please read the article at IBM Developer.