Our first milestone is a comprehensive research report. For the first four weeks of the quarter we conducted research on our domain and user population through four different themes of research: background web research, a competitor analysis, an online survey, and an interview with a subject matter expert.
Background Web Research
We started our research by performing background web research. We wanted to find out as much information as we could by searching the internet for articles, stories, and other papers that could help us gain insight into our domain and user population. Our web research revolved around three different themes. The first is researching case studies of wilderness emergencies and injury and death statistics while hiking, backpacking, or camping. The second is looking into search and rescue procedures to get a feel of how they work. The third is researching general hiking guidelines involving safety, preparation, and different actions and reactions.
Another important part of our research was to do a competitor analysis on products that are already on the market. We searched through a number of wilderness safety wearables and products to get a better understanding of what kind of features exist on devices already.
Online Survey Results
In an effort to better understand our user population we decided to create an online survey. We hoped to get a better feel on the kind of equipment that typical hikers, backpackers, and campers brought with them on their excursions. We also hoped to gain insight into what kind of emergency equipment people used, how prepared and aware people were of their safety in the wilderness, and what they liked about wearable technology.
As part of our research we wanted to be sure to talk to a subject matter expert of the other side of our user population. Because search and rescue teams were a part of the users that we needed to consider we wanted to talk to someone who was familiar with their practices and efforts. We went to the Ranger Station at the Seattle REI and were able to talk to Diane a member of the National Park Services who has experience in search and rescue.