more projects

A sample of some of the other issues and challenges we’ve been working on.


Closeup of the icons on an emergency evacuation map

get out safe: designing emergency exit maps that work

Emergency exit maps in public buildings are an “orphan problem” in design. We expect them to be a “quick read,” a tool we can rely on in the event of an emergency evacuation. But these maps are sometimes difficult to find and almost always difficult to decipher. To support emergency preparedness and public safety, it is crucial that emergency exit maps be simple, clear, and effective wayfinding tools.

This project focuses on research and design development to create prototypes and models for improvement that can be adapted for use in a variety of public buildings.

Contribute to the project by posting your map examples using Twitter: #ucdipi_emaps


Various charts and graphs visualizing energy usage on utility bill

Image: A proposal from Raiyan Khan’s final project in Design 149, UC Davis

reimagining the utility bill

Many customers find utility bills confusing. How might an improved design help make energy use easier to understand and to change? Informed by user-centered research and quick prototyping, we are looking at ways to reimagine the energy utility bill to help customers make sense of their energy use behaviors—how much, when, and how to use less.

Send examples of clear or confusing energy utility bills to #ucdipi_energy. We’d love to hear from you about what you find helpful, what doesn’t work, and how you might improve it.


Scan of the Yolo County juror summons form

transforming the jury summons experience

This project addresses citizen engagement and civic duty by asking how a request for jury duty might communicate to prospective jurors in clear and welcoming ways.

Response rates to juror summons in Yolo County (where UC Davis is located) are low, generally between 46% and 51%. One opportunity for improved communication is the Juror Summons form, which can be intimidating, confusing, and framed in a way that unintentionally sends messages such as “Your time is not valuable” and “Your information needs are not important.”

Working with participants and stakeholders, we aim to identify deficiencies with the current juror summons form and use what we discover to redesign it. A case study with prototypes and design guidelines is in progress; next steps include disseminating these materials to multiple counties and regions for review and feedback, and advocating for their widespread adoption.

In addition to increasing civic engagement, higher response rates would save the court money and would potentially result in juries that are more representative of the community, and therefore more likely to operate in the spirit of the law.


sexual assault prevention and response project

This pilot project builds on research and early design proposals developed by a group of six undergraduate students engaged in a DiPi-sponsored independent study.Four students carried the project forward with research and design work focused on creating educational materials and decision aids for sexual assault survivors and secondary survivors. We want to help identify, access, and navigate campus and community resources; aid in the recovery process; and prevent sexual assault from happening. The overarching goal is to empower individuals, inspire proactive responses, and provide skills for navigating challenging conversations.

Prototypes include:

Experience map
A diagram of decision points and resources available for survivors

Secondary survivor personas
Narratives for starting possible conversations with secondary survivors who wish to provide support and help navigate resources and options

Campus emergency resources card
A redesign with improved information and user friendliness

Public service announcements (PSAs)
Video sketches integrating diverse voices about sexual assault to explore creating a broader campus conversation

Online & mobile resources
Wireframes to improve sexual assault & harassment resources section on UCD website, plus an update to the resources section on Aggie Mobile containing all the different resources we compiled.

DiPi team
Susan Verba (faculty), Prerna Dudani (research/design assistant), Hanna Henry (undergraduate, Design), Zackery Jones (undergraduate, Cinema and Digital Media), Shinna Kim (undergraduate, Design), Nima Rahni (undergraduate, Design)