KNOW MY BLOCK    |    2016    |   24-HOUR HACATHON    |   2nd Runner Up

How can we keep users informed about criminal activity in their neighborhood?

Know My Block is a web application that allows users to know which crimes are happening in their Seattle neighborhood and on their street. It plots data pulled from’s API on a Google map.
  • Jon Infranco
  • Alaina Wharton
  • Ivar Lee
  • Joe Marzullo
  • Me
  • Rapid proto-persona development
  • sketching
  • wireframes
  • rapid prototyping
  • Takeaways from User Research
  • Suggested Features & Design Recommendations
  • Sketches & Wireframes
  • Use Cases & User Stories
  • Documentation
  • Whiteboard
  • Pen & Paper
  • Illustrator
  • Rapid person development
  • User Flows
  • Design Studio / Charette
  • Sketches
  • Wireframes

Seattle is defined by its myriad neighborhoods, but for residents and people considering moving to those neighborhoods, they want to make sure the area is safe. Know My Block organizes data from the Seattle API Crime Database into a neighborhood-specific snapshot so residents have a better understanding of where they live.


Given the time constraints of the 24-hour sprint, our team took a divide and conquer approach. On the UX side, we made an educated guess about the type of user who would be likely to use this app. We developed a proto-persona named Stephanie, Stephanie’s user scenario and an emotional journey map of Stephanie’s struggle to find information about Seattle neighborhoods.

On the Developer side, Joe and Ivar researched what data was available, how they could go about getting it and how to ensure that the data pulled would be the most current and relevant information for Stephanie’s needs.

Persona Development

Despite the lack of real-data, we felt we needed to create a proto-persona in order to give a context to our design decisions. It’s far easier to design for someone , rather than just design for anyone.


Stephanie is a 28-year-old recently divorced mother of two who is relocating to Seattle. Her primary goal is to ensure that her two young boys are safe and loved. While she has a job lined up in Bellevue, she is looking at various neighborhoods in Seattle that would be the best fit for her family. She is getting a lot of information from her realtor, but knows she’ll have to do her homework from other sources too before she makes a final decision.

Our initial plan included a wide-variety of information that Stephanie would need to make a decision on where to move (including school information and points of interest), however given that Stephanie’s number one concern was her children’s safety and the limitations of our 24-hour sprint, our MVP focused on the neighborhood crime data.

MVP Goals

  1. To show crime data on a Google map
  2. To have that data be filterable by crime
  3. To have that data be filterable by time span

While the Developers went to work writing the code, we UX designers went to work sketching and wireframing the app. We did an initial design studio to get the ideas flowing, and flushed out the basic interactions that Stephanie would need.


In the midnight hours, I went home to rapidly prototype our app based on the sketches we’d developed that evening.

What We Discovered

Halfway through the sprint, we realized that while we wanted to build an app, a desktop application would be far better suited to Stephanie’s needs. She would more likely be sitting at a computer to research the neighborhood, likely taking notes, rather than flipping through her phone. We canabalized what design elements we could and pivoted to an entirely web-based platform.

    Follow Up
    next steps
    • If we were to continue to work on Know My Block, our first step would be to add more search filters to the data so that Stephanie could have a complete understanding of her new neighborhood. For example, she’d would want to know what the neighborhood is like at 3 pm, when her kids are coming home from school, versus what the neighborhood is like at 1 pm on a Saturday when she and the kids might be heading downtown to the aquarium.
    • The second next step would be to revisit the mobile version of the app. Once Stephanie has moved to her new neighborhood, she would be more likely to use a mobile version of the app. At that point she would be less likely to need the desktop version for intensive research purposed, and more likely to need the data for an on-the-fly assessment of how things are looking on her block.
    • Given the rapid development timeframe of Know My Block, our team did an excellent job keeping in constant communication. Each time a roadblock popped up, we were able to work the problem as a team and find a new solution.