SEO UX DESIGN RESEARCH LAB
Graphic Design and Media, B.S., University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)
Research group: Mayra Carrera, Kristine Monsada, Khristine Le, Mustafa Diallo, Cecilia Garcia-Leon 
Research accomplishment: 
- 2021 Undergraduate Research Stimulus Program (Research Grant Award)
- Fall 2021 Undergraduate Research Symposium (Research Presentation)
- HCII 2022 Conference Proceedings (Presentation & Short Paper) 


​​​​​​Title: A Study of Improvement in the User Experience of UNLV's Campus Safety Mobile App
Research Keywords: User Experience (UX), User Interface (UI), Usability Testing, Campus Safety.
IRB Exempt: UNLV-2021-120 October 12, 2021
Summary: This study aimed to evaluate the visual design and usability of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’s (UNLV) campus safety app, RebelSAFE. We found that campus safety at UNLV continues to be an issue among students, however, students have found the application to be unreliable. The study further evaluated the redesign using user testing to examine the overall effectiveness of this new visual hierarchy. This procedure included developing three (3) user tasks that allow users to navigate through the app highlighting our proposed features, marking successful completion within a three (3) minute time frame.
Research Question and Hypothesis: The purpose of this study was to analyze the issues with the current app to see if the new design impacts the app’s success. Our hypothesis was that a new design would increase effectiveness and could positively impact the student body by ensuring that the new design of RebelSafe can help them when they are in danger.
Development of Mobile App: The major issues with RebelSAFE are that users often feel overwhelmed when identifying resources, and in-app services are limited. UNLV students aware of the app tend not to utilize it because of the excessive use of red, unclear information architecture, and an overwhelming amount of information on the home page​​​​.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Simplified User Flow: The User flow was designed focusing on the two main uses of campus safety apps, for emergency purposes and for non-emergency purposes. The red shows the Emergency Mode features of the app, and the blue shows the non-emergency features of the app.
Prototype App: The prototype was designed with a dark mode since dark mode tends to emit less light and has been found to be more comfortable for users to use in dark environments. The design of the prototype focused on three main functions of RebelSafe. These functions were divided into tasks to be completed in the usability testing. In Task A, users would be instructed to navigate through the prototype and try to navigate through the “Chat with Dispatch” feature. Participants were given a situation that they were on campus at night and unable to speak on the phone. Successful completion for Task A would be to type “Help” with the keyboard and display the dispatch tracking message. In Task B, users would be instructed to schedule a Rebel Ride (campus rideshare). This involved setting up a designated pick-up location, drop-off location, and time for users to interact with to confirm the ride. Successful completion of this task would involve the participant receiving the ‘confirmed’ popup after scheduling the time. In Task C, users would be instructed to identify useful features they would like to save for future reference and create a bookmark. There were three ways a user would be able to create a bookmark: through the map, through the bookmarks bar on navigation, or through the safety protocols within the resources tab. Successful completion would involve being able to create a bookmark in any of these areas and would indicate via pop-up (map and navigation bar) or icon change (safety protocols).
Findings: We found that of our participants, 81.3% did not use the RebelSafe app. The reasoning behind why participants did not use the app included its ineffective app design, poor service quality, and finding no use for the services. Meanwhile, 56.3% of participants rated campus safety as a 2 out of 5, 25% rated safety as a 3 out of 5, and 18.75% rated it as a 4 out of 5. In addition, 12.5% rated the GRA and HFA building security at a 1 out of 5, 37.5% rated security at a 2 out of 5, 25% rated it at a 3 out of 5, and 25% rated it at a 4 out of 5. Furthermore, during the performance of each task, specific behaviors in participants such as visual or audible frustration/confusion were observed and recorded, alongside any part of the tasks that participants struggled with. In Task B, about 93% of users expressed confusion and nervousness such as squinting, moving closer to their screens, and/or verbally asking questions. In Task C, roughly 25% of users expressed confusion or nervousness.