A project from MIT's COVID-19 Challenge Beat the Pandemic II Hackathon. Project Oasis was one of the top three projects in the track.
group of 7
UX, UI, FrontEnd
“How can we combat news fatigue through a reliable source for crucial information regarding COVID-19?”
We began the sprint for Oasis as a platform where we congregated reliable sources of information from regional health authorities and government websites. The website would show 4-5 pieces of important topics based on the user's location.
The hackathon was organized into 8 different tracks. Each track dealt with a different problem related to COVID-19. Within each track, teams were formed based on their interest in how to approach the problem. Oasis was formed in Track E: Surfacing and Communicating the COVID-19 Truth.
Team Oasis had 7 members including myself: Ragini (Technology and Policy), Rafael(Sr. System/Software Engineer), Shyama(Business Analytics), Stacy (International Studies and Business), Desiree (Bioengineering), Aditi (Colour&Trim Designer), Alena (UX/UI Designer with a Biology background)
- Google Forms
We used statistics from Pew Research Center, as well as other sources to establish our target users.
KEY PAIN POINTS
- 43% of adults in the US feel emotionally worse after reading news related to covid-19
- 70% of US adults take breaks from the news
- 35% were unaware of March's unemployment aid
- There is a lot of misinformation being shared on news and social media platforms
"When I open Oasis, I don't want to be bombarded with information, so I can feel calm."
"When I scroll down, I don't want headlines competing for my attention, so I can focus on the important information."
"When I am reading the information, I don't want to second guess the validity of the source, so I can focus on absorbing the information."
"When I am scrolling down, I want to be shown the information that is happening in my local area first, so I feel more engaged with the information."
- Combat news fatigue
- Create a database of reliable sources
- Narrow down to 4-5 most crucial information
- Provide value to users through location-based information
The important decisions for the wireframes came down to the column layout vs. the grid layout for the news items, and a full immersive landing page vs. a simple landing page with the logo.
An immersive landing page was decided on to help combat news fatigue. If the user opened up the page, they wouldn't feel overwhelmed by the news headlines. The graphics will be used to help the user reach a calmer state.
The column layout was also chosen to combat news fatigue. By seeing a list of news items that is ordered from local to global information, the user is likely to engage with the news and feel less overwhelemed. It would feel like taking small steps on a staircase of information.
At this point, we decided to pivot to a chrome extension because it would give Oasis the unique opportunity to become integrated into the user’s workflow without being intrusive in our approach to provide information.
1. Recent changes to policies.
2. Reputable health info.
3. Most discussed information this week, starting with the primary source.
The information will be drawn from reliable sources of information from regional health authorities and government websites
The user can select their location to filter the information
Team Oasis is continuing to work on the app after the hackathon. We are currently in the process of redefining our scope to make an MVP. If you would like to join us, please contact me.
I loved meeting such a diverse group of dedicated individuals. I learned to speak up my ideas in a large group (over 200 people in the track, 2000 in the whole hackathon) and to collaborate with differing ideas and points of view. In the next hackathon, I would like to practice giving pitches. It was a tough weekend, but I would do it again in a heartbeat!