Noise is a battle that families in cities are not winning. Currently, Toronto is on track to add more than 1 million people in less than 25 years. This trend towards urbanization is a challenge for sustainable development and organization.
The City of Toronto has asked for a technological solution that can help make our city safer. The app should help facilitate healthy and safe connected communities, considering the benefits and needs of human interaction.
There are 2 parts to the Murmur solution: hardware & software. The mobile app streamlines the reporting process and helps to scale data-driven aggregated reports. The sensor is modular in configuration and measures the decibels in the area that it's situated in.
We took a different approach when it came to designing for noise pollution. Instead of researching thousands of Torontonians and their relationship with noise, we decided to find out how citizens deal with noise currently.
When it comes to dealing with noise, it's a problem that takes over a certain period of time. For example, your neighbour is having a house party and it only happens on a Saturday night. Citizens want the problem to be dealt with as soon as it happens since noise can be disruptive to everyday life. As a result, we came up with these user goals to help the city react to noise and citizens handle their noise complaints.
Finding information about noise complaints should be simple and understanding it should be easy.
The final design must be intuitive and include a streamlined process when reporting a noise complaint.
We researched a lot of different Voice and Chat UI interfaces to help us understand what the best way to create the UI would be. This involved a lot of visual research on Behance and Dribbble so we could get the right look and feel. Overall, we wanted the aesthetic to be approachable and memorable if a Torontonian saw the logo and recognized it at a glance.
During the judging of the final product, we were able to demonstrate complete functionality of the application and its noise measuring capabilities. Shown below are the primary features we demonstrated at the TD Elevate Hackathon.
Using the sound pollution map, police officers and urban city planners can make informative decisions. Police officers can respond to areas in the city with a lot of noise disturbance reports. City planners can assign noise scores, affecting the value of real estate and urban planning.
Instead of going through paragraphs of information, Murmur condenses everything you need to know about sound pollution at your finger tips.
Is your neighbour running their lawnmower too loudly? Construction near by breaking any bylaws? Or your neighbours are simply too noisy? By pulling up Murmur, you can easily report the sound pollution in your area.
As part of the Hackademics team, I couldn't have asked for a better set of people to work with in order to push out this project within the 36 hours we had. Our team, consisting of 4 designers and 2 developers, worked like a well-oiled machine. The key to our success was open communication, laying out our mission from the very beginning, and working towards it together.
I learned so much from this experience including building a narrative, one of the best ways to divide a team, and understanding how important the value proposition, overall user experience, and narrative is to the final pitch - ultimately, securing our place as 3rd out of 78 other teams.
The key takeaway that I took from this experience was how "pair designing/programming" are effective in a team environment when you're under high-pressure, as well as laying out the vision ahead of time so your time knows who and what you're designing for.