Might want to reduce the volume in the starting of the video! :)


I always had this thought when I was younger “why aren’t there any ways to contact 9-1-1 by texting or messaging through an application”? I was always afraid I would find myself in a situation like that (maybe I watched too many horror movies!) But, I have heard many stories especially when children go into lockdown and they cannot call because it gives out their location. And lately with all the shootings happening in the US and even some crimes happening in Canada, this is so important.


I built my project by creating different timelines: research, ideate, wireframes, and prototyping. It was very difficult to follow design process with such short amount of time


This mobile application focuses on providing immediate help for users who are unable to call and need medical attention or help from law enforcement by messaging.


The problem is that currently in Canada there is no way to send messages to 911 operators, only the Deaf, Deafened, hard of hearing or with speech impairment can use the service. In addition, to use the service they must register for it with their wireless service provider. Furthermore, to use the service the user must call 911, only then the chat will be initiated with 911 to give the users the ability to message operators.

Solution - Goal:

The goal and the solution is to create an application where anyone can ask for help via text message and get the help they need.


Currently even in the US, the text-to-911 system is only supported by these states: Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and South Dakota (total of 10 states). And only 1,600 of more than 6,000 emergency call centers support this feature. In Canada, there is a service called text-with-911 that only allows those who have disabilities (Deaf, Deafened, hard of hearing or with speech impairment) can use the service. The reason “text-with-911” only allows those with hearing/speech impairment to use the service is because “During an emergency, time is of the essence and talking enables faster communication than texting, and there is a small chance that text messaging could be delayed or lost.”

Pain Points:

The pain points I gathered were that law enforcement or the government did not want to implement text-911 to all members of the community as many would misuse them and send prank messages or spam the operators. They also limited the amount of keywords and characters that the user can type. And during an emergency users were not able to explain the situation quickly (in short words) via text which slowed the typing down even more.In addition giving the location (via text) was also slowing the process of operators trying to reach the user.

3 Key Points:

The users must not send inappropriate, spam, or prank messages Users must easily explain the situation Users must easily identify their location


Based on the above points, I arrived at the following features.

  • Incorporate sharing location
  • Suggest common emergencies
  • Allowing to ask for help without an account (put a limit so users can not abuse it without creating account)
  • Using ID verification to avoid spam messages and pranks
  • Allowing to add healthcare information (will vary from province and states)


  • Reduce stress during messaging
  • Decrease time it takes to explain situation
  • Decrease the time it takes to find user’s location
  • Users able to reach 911 without calling operator

Rapid Prototyping:

Given that there was not much time given, I jumped straight into making the prototype structure without brainstorming. Here are a few mockups of the app.

Visual Identity:

These colors were chosen as red usually represents danger (firetruck) and healthcare and blue represents the law enforcement sector. Yellow is used in caution and warning. It can also represent the emotion “happy” which is helpful when the user is trying to communicate with the operator.

As a result, the color palette and designs were relatively simple to minimize distractions and to calm the user’s mind while they are in an emergency.


  • Profile set up with full name & address helps to identify user quickly (saves time)
  • Location shared
  • Controlling spam messages


  • Would need access to wifi/data


  • Creating web app design
  • Implementing it using html,css, javascript/php (web) & working with swift for mobile
  • Work with government & law enforcers
  • City help & funding
  • Promoting the service
  • Creating clear guidelines when to use the service (try to call when possible)
  • Send images


  • Prototyping under a short time period
  • Completing a whole interactive prototype within a few hours
  • Building an MVP
  • Prototype did not have all interactions complete but had the important features and interactions that could convey the main features of the app
  • Simplistic Storytelling
  • 3 minute pitch

Built With

  • figma
Share this project: