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Front. Earth Sci. | doi: 10.3389/feart.2018.00237

MyShake: Using Human-Centered Design Methods to Promote Engagement in a Smartphonebased Global Seismic Network

  • 1University of California, Berkeley, United States

MyShake is a global seismic network that uses private citizens’ smartphones to detect earthquakes and record both ground shaking and users’ experiences. The goal is to reduce earthquake risk and provide users with a resource for earthquake science and information. It is powered by the participation of users, therefore, its success as a global network and its utility for the users themselves is reliant on their engagement and continued involvement. This paper discusses the citizen scientist participation that enables MyShake, with specific attention to the human-centered design process that was used to overhaul the mobile application’s user interface.
After the successful initial launch of the application in February of 2016, we had the opportunity to revisit the user interface based on user feedback and needs. The process began with an assessment of the demographics and distribution of the original user base through surveys and Google Play Store analytics. Subsequently, through systematic examination of the motivations and needs of community members in the San Francisco Bay Area and iterative evaluations of design decisions, MyShake was redesigned to appeal as a resource to a wider range of users in earthquake-prone regions. The efficacy of the new user interface was evaluated through interviews, surveys, and meetups with potential users. We highlight the human-centered methodology we employed, as well as the roadblocks we faced, in the hopes that our experience will be valuable to other citizen science projects in the future.

Keywords: Human-center Design, citizen scince, seismology, global, smartphone

Received: 31 Aug 2018; Accepted: 06 Dec 2018.

Edited by:

Jonathan D. Paul, Imperial College London, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Sara K. McBride, Earthquake Science Center, United States Geological Survey, United States
REMY BOSSU, European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre, France  

Copyright: © 2018 Rochford, Strauss, Kong and Allen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Ms. Kaylin Rochford, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, United States,