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Winning Entry; D’source Global Corona Design Challenge conducted by IDC School of Design, IIT Bombay.

NOA - Make Informed Decisions

An app to assist people make better decisions while going out during COVID 19

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IDC, IIT Bombay


Delhi, India






In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, the world faced an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. The outbreak prompted widespread adoption of social distancing and safety measures, significantly altering daily lifestyles globally. However, a dedicated system to effectively manage crowds and ensure safety in this new normal was notably absent, posing challenges for public spaces, particularly in densely populated countries like India.


In response to the critical challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for effective crowd management in urban areas, our project a comprehensive application aimed at providing users with crucial data and information about their surroundings. The primary goal is to empower users to make informed decisions based on real-time data points.

Key Features

Real-time Data Points:

The application offers users essential data points and information about the current state of a location, ensuring transparency and awareness.

Informed Decision-Making:

Users can leverage the provided information to make informed decisions regarding their activities and movements, considering the safety status of the place in question.

Slot-Based Crowd Control:

The application advocates for a slot-based system, empowering facility owners to implement effective crowd control measures. This helps in maintaining safe and manageable crowd sizes.

Risk Level Notifications:

UrbanGuard keeps users informed about the risk levels associated with the areas they are currently in or planning to visit, enhancing overall situational awareness.

Shared Errands Exploration:

Exploring innovative solutions, the application delves into the possibility of shared errands, minimizing the necessity for individuals to venture out unnecessarily.

The application seeks to redefine safety protocols in urban spaces by providing a holistic solution that combines real-time information, crowd control mechanisms, and user-centric decision-making, ultimately contributing to a safer and more informed community.

UX Research
User Persona
Journey Mapping
User Interviews
Interactive Prototyping


Design an app to help people make informed decisions while going out during the COVID 19 Pandemic.

The Problem

In late 2019, the world witnessed a new version of an existing virus SARS, i.e, COVID 19. This virus led to a pandemic, which experts called the largest Humanitarian Crisis till date.


To counter this, social distancing and other safety precautions became the new normal lifestyle of people all around the globe. However, a proper system to deliberately manage crowd and to provide safety is not available to the remarkable context. For the current generations of people, this is something very new and hard to be adapted.


To cater this major issue, we came up with a one-stop application which can possibly solve the crowd & safety management and their control in urban spaces and especially in populated country like India.


This design is an entry to the Dsource Design Challenge to tackle the existing and futuristic crisis by stepping into a new way of lifestyle. 


Many of us are on the frontlines of this pandemic, surrounded by loss, pain, confusion, and fake news. It feels unmanageable and at some level, we already recognize our own powerlessness. We cannot make COVID-19 or its impending aftermath disappear. 


An illness has taken over our lives and, in many moments, holds our minds and bodies prisoner. We are stressed out, overwhelmed and exhausted. The illness is hurting us and people we care about.  And there’s no going back — our old way of life will be left in 2019.


But we can’t live like this forever. Eventually, we realize that our old way of life no longer works. Things have to change. This is recovery: being willing to step into a new way of living, without  knowing the outcome, but ready to rebuild and reclaim your life.


Everybody says we hope we return to normal. Well, It’s not going to return to normal anytime soon because the new normal is going to be different. It’s time to embrace and adapt this new lifestyle to the new normal.

Intuitive & Rapid Design Process

The crisis was spreading fast at an influential rate. No treatment is yet discovered and health experts are working day in and day out to come up with a vaccine to control this pandemic. As of now the only way to not to fall victim to this pandemic was to take extensive precautions and maintain social distance in our daily life. 

Make people adapt and adopt the new lifestyle with ease

For this project, we decided to speed up our process to come up with some design solutions. Time was of the essence. We majorly took the adjacent methodologies to speed up our pace.





The Challenge

Our goal is to help people in careful decision-making on where, when, and how to go out. Providing them with alternatives they wished for. The Businesses and Offices were shut and most of them adapted to working from home. In many cases that worked out very well but obviously, there were facilities were working from home was not at all possible. We aimed at catering to them with a provision that could help them run their facilities in a safe and sound way without risking their and their user's safety. Apart from this, we all know that a human is a social animal and keeping them socially apart from each other for a very very long time was really not a good idea even if that’s the only way of survival. Humans need company. Hence over the top of every solution, we aimed to make it as humane as possible. 



While India was in the initial phase of the pandemic, Italy had already seen the worst cases in the later stages. Hence, our objective was to closely observe how Italy was fighting this pandemic. 

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Conducted several surveys right from Questionnaires to Ghost study & Shadowing.

Photographed Milano and New Delhi, and observed people and facilities. Importantly, collected insights on the level of awareness, action taken & response to virus widespread. 

Analysing Government rules and regulations followed by existing COVID tackling apps (IMMUNE & AROGYA SETU) in both the countries.

Synthesized the data, followed by affinity mapping to come up with different ideas to tackle the problems gathered. 

Rapid Prototyping /Testing and submitted to Dsource design challenge. 

Primary Research

Several surveys were conducted to understand the behaviors and pain points of people while going out during a pandemic. to see the results of the surveys, please click on the following buttons.

Observations from the field

  1. For grocery shopping, more than 68% of people preferred to cut down their trips.

  2. In-Shop time for grocery and daily needs have increased in general as they prefer to buy more as it lasts for longer days.

  3. Most of the shops have queues maintaining a distance of an average of 2 feet.

  4. Approximately 19% of people were carrying out someone else’s work along with theirs. 12% said they will refuse to buy/fill in for others and 48% said they would consider that if asked.

  5. More than 81% of people under the age of 35 were strongly willing to go to social gatherings with their friends.

  6. Less than 38% of people maintain a health check on their staff.

Insights from the survey

  1. People preferred to go to a facility if it is being disinfected regularly.

  2. More people have started planning even their small trips beforehand.

  3. For essentials, a number of family members or friends go together on a need basis.

  4. Regular Self-health check has become very common. 

  5. People are finding online ways for all possible work.

  6. Many inter-state/inter-country facilities, especially in the transit sector, have increased the pre-boarding time to conduct health checks such as thermal scanning.

The Solution


The Inspiration

Name of this application is inspired by the Survival of Noah’s Ark through the turmoil of the historical devastating Flood. He is the hero of the Biblical Flood story in the Old Testament Book of Genesis and in Holy Quran. Like Noah performed the grueling task of keeping all the creatures on board alive and well. Similarly, this app brings all users & service providers together under a platform to cope with ongoing and futuristic catastrophe. 

During this pandemic, when the world has witnessed enormous deaths till date breaking the records of past catastrophes, and where every single movement and action can put our health at high risk, NOA brings all the crowd and safety measures under a single platform which is fast, effortless and calm, provides solutions to all the problems faced by us during this global catastrophe which has made our survival harder throughout the years. NOA makes sensible decisions for us erring on the side of our safety and protection— informing us in ways that are understandable, preventive and actionable.


The Vision


Minimise the Bad

Our key priority is to minimize the health risk by following the rule of social distancing and by smart management of the crowd in public spaces.


Amplify the Good

Beyond the features, we saw opportunities to build a deep emotional connection with our users to create an honest, human app that also connects people on emotional grounds to back each other.


Bring Users Together

This platform will find ways to 
contribute to the community, where lot of people who are bound to leave their homes will be supported by outgoing users in return of digital credit system for every single contribution.

High Level Goals


Single platform to cater to the entire crowd management and control at different urban premises that brings innovation, cooperation, and deeper engagement among user.


Quick and easy interface to use for 
everyone, everywhere.


Give user more control over time/space and 
help in minimizing the health risk.


Following the basic Social Distancing 2020 formula to alert users from the risk-prone zones. And automatic Contact tracing by respecting data protection policies.

User Personas

Jemma Manikaran

Works from 
08:00 AM TO 02:00 PM

Very Friendly
Get’s into Panic very quickly
Loves Window Shopping

Wants to safe wherever she travels.
Very peculiar about places.
Hates it when she has to wait


Areeb Stephen

Works at Supermarket from 
06:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Part time Attendant 
Casual attitude and carefree
Loves going movies

Wants to earn more and more money.
Wants to try different jobs.
Cannot continue doing the same 

User Journey : Storyboard

General Consumer (Grocery Shopping)

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Facility Owner/Boss (Staff Onboarding)

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NOA: Product Features

Product Capabilities

The product has been designed keeping in mind that it will be used by all sections of the society, hence keeping the interface and user experience simple, usable and delightful.


NOA allows 3 kinds of registrations to facilitate users. 

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A Casual/General User

She/He would be the primary user of NOA. NOA will help the casual user with planning her/his days based on prominent safety insights.

A Service Owner

The service owner will be the person or a representative managing the facility. Be it a Shopping centre, a health clinic, transit stops etc. NOA will help her/him to maintain safety standards in his facility.

Staff Member

Staff member is basically an extended hand to the service provider. NOA will help him and the owner to keep each other updated of their health, facility-data and attendance.

General Features

‘The Casual User’ being the most important user of this app uses features which should help him to make informed and better decisions. This will assist him to carry out his daily routine amidst this crisis without compromising with health and safety. That’s not assured that this will keep him 100% safe but this will for sure minimise the risk of getting infected at a substantial level. The prime features of this app available to the casual user is listed below. 

Advance Visit Slot Booking

The users can pre plan their visit to several facilities based on the risk status of that facility. The users will be able to see certain viable information which will assist them to make a slot booking.

Friends for Credit

Users can see if their NOA friends are visiting any particular facility and if he needs something too, he can request his friend to carry out the task for him in exchange of credit points. These credit points can be used by the friend to ask for requests from his friend list. So the credit points acts as a request currency and can also be purchased.

Crowd/Risk Status

The users can plan their visit to any particular place based on the real-time crowd status following the risk status of that place. All these data will be visualized through a map. 

Float Slots

Float Slots is a unique feature that give users a flexibility to change his decisions. For a third person, it helps him to make instant decisions. The basic Idea is to pre book visits but due to some inconveniences, one can cancel their visit. During cancellations , the slots will be floated with all the users around and will be available to be booked. One can switch to float slots and acquire the visit. Overall, it reduces the loss factor of the facility owner as well as the user. 

Service Providers/Facilities

As a service provider NOA primarily registers 6 category of service facilities as shown in the 1st screen. Most of the facilities will be covered under these categories. However, if it does not, NOA does have an ‘Others’ section too. 

The registration will create a public profile of the facility based on its location, complementary health and safety facilities, opening hours and most important of all- Maximum occupancy at a time. 

The rules for the same can be regulated by the government based on different service categories. For the sake of this presentation we pick up the most common category- Shopping and Health Sector.


Case 01: Shopping Sector

Service owners can monitor who is present, who is arriving and who won’t be able to show. This can be done for 3 continuous consecutive days. 
The purpose of this data is to track people to be tested if any risk case is detected.The dashboard will provide the general analytics. 

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Case 02: Healthcare Sector

To avoid inconveniences, payment is a very crucial part of appointment booking. The payment gateway will be redirected to the official website of service providers to receive payments.

NOA will notify users of the appropriate time to leave for the check-up based on the Waiting lobby capacity of the health center. On the Contrary, Doctors can check the status of waiting and upcoming patients, and staff status just like in the shopping sector described earlier. 

The screen highlights, how NOA’s Day planning and crowd management model can be unanimously applied to various categories of services and facilities.  A Universal Slot booking system for majorly all kinds of categories will help users to easily take decisions and plan their days without compromising on health and safety.

Health officials can easily register their health centers with NOA. While registering, the number of patients to be consulted can be recorded on a daily basis followed by the patients allowed in the waiting space. NOA will allow users to book appointments with available doctors. 


Case 03: Service/Facility Staff

As an extended hand to the service provider, the staff profile allows the facility employees to add/remove/update facility data into the modules to keep the public profile relevant to casual users. The employees can mark their entry/exit to record their attendance based on a QR Code system. 

A crucial function provided to the employees would be self-health 
assessment. These would be mandatory for the users to take at certain intervals as decided by the facility owner/govt. regulations. 

This assessment will be important for the owner to keep the health and safety check of both their employees and their users.

General Users Exploring Nearby Facilities

After the registration and login process, the user will land to his profile from where he/she can navigate to the ‘Nearby Facilities’ section. There is a list of facilities followed by map where user can switch to. Both the list and the map displays facilities based on the risk and safety factor. The user can book a visiting slot by clicking and proceeding on the facility icon/button. Once booked the slot will be added to the visitor's day planner. Slots for today/tomorrow and day after tomorrow can be booked. The map has several features as well. It differentiates between different facilites based on the risk status based on universal color. Three kinds of maps are featured. The first shows pin point facilities. The 2nd shows crowd intensity and the 3rd shows the Area status, either its a safe zone or a contained zone or restricted zone.


The day planner lists all your booking slots. The user can dive into the facility profile & see the available modules. Here, users can see what items are available in Deploy (A grocery Store) and makes a decision based on it.

The users can also cancel their visit and these canceled visits will be shifted publicly to the ‘Float Slots’ section if it’s canceled within 3 hours before the booked time and will be available to other users to acquire the slot. 

NOA's Friends Circle

Everyone connected through this app is contributing to society. Favoring available requests from needy neighbors and senior citizens will contribute more to society. A user can select to either accept or not accept requests from friends when visiting the store. If the user is not interested in visiting the facility, He/She can see the list of friends visiting the stores in near future and generate a request. One can choose to ask their friends to carry out their task as well in exchange for credits. Now to acquire credits, users will require to execute tasks for other friends as well. When earned, those credits can be exchanged with requests. 

While a request is generated, a notification will be sent to the friend and it will be totally his/her choice to either accept or reject the request made.

 To maintain privacy and spam, you will have to scan people's QR Code which changes every time. This way, your friend list will only have the people you know and you are willing to do tasks. Not everyone can request you to do their job on their behalf


In case of cancelling the visit and it’s too late, one can float their slot publicly. Others might acquire that slot and this way facility owner can be saved from any loss. But if nobody acquires it then the user will have to pay certain compensation to the facility owner. A minor fee perhaps. Hence, the fee would reduce the cancellation rates. 

NOA will 
also, give you a 

haptic and 
visual warning 

if you are about to 
enter a risk area.


Interactive Prototype

Click 'Sign Up' to start.

Explanatory Video


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