Rahul Nair







Level of Interest function
Counter activity
Dispatcher's rescue
Everywhere display
Less is Moore



Dispatcher's Rescue

Dispatchers rescue was a group class project for CS 6750 - Intro to HCI. The assignment was to create an alternative interface for some comuter based application. My team decided to focus on the interface used by the dispatcher of the Georgia Tech Stingerette van escort service so as to improve the speed and efficiency of the stingerette operation.

The current system followed by the Stingerette dispatchers is to use a spreadsheet to note down the calls they recieve and then broadcast the call details over the radio. The drivers then decide which of them will respond to the call based on their current position. After studying the drivers and the dispatchers over a few days we found the following flaws

  • Dispatchers take a long time to enter the call details in the spreadsheet
  • Dispatcher has no idea of the driver locations
  • Lots of radio traffic is necessary to decide which driver will respond to the call
  • Drivers cannot plot optimal routes since they do not have access to the full call listing

We decided that the best course of action would be to speed up the dispatchers call entry work while asking him/her to route the drivers in the time that they save. Our final design was a two monitor map based interface that allowed dispatchers to simulatneuosly enter call data while monitoring the overall status of the drivers and calls.

The map used in the interface was skewed and scaled such that the buildings on campus were visible in great detail(due to higher call volumes) while the surrounding streets were merely lines. High traffic off campus buildings like GCATT and Windsor were also enlarged in order to reduce selection time.

The status interface was designed to provide all relevant status information(call status, vehicle load, vehicle driver) at a glance. The dispatcher also used this interface to complete several tasks such as (set call status, adjust pickups, change driver, etc...)


User testing showed that our system was significantly faster than the existing process and convinced the Georgia Tech Parking & Transportation department to put our system into operation. Deployment is expected in spring.

Project deliverables

The following links are to the various sections of the project report and also the presentation on the project.

  • Part 1* : This part required us to carefully study the problem space and and the users. No designs were thought of here but instead the characteristics of the problem were identified.
  • Part 2*(doc): In this stage we identified possible designs that could solve the problem. Practicality and cost were not considered and only effectiveness was taken into account.
  • Part 3 (856 KB pdf): Here we chose our final design and built a functional prototype. Our design choices were influenced by the fact that the Parking and Transportation department actually wished to implement our system and thus cost and reliability had to be taken into consideration.
  • Part 4* (1.1 MB doc): The final phase in the project was to evaluate the system using both eventual users (Stingerette dispatchers) and lay users (students) to check the effectiveness off our design.
  • Final Presentation (2.5 MB powerpoint): This is a copy of the final presentation that our group gave to the class regarding our project.

* Some of the files are hosted on external server that may not be running at all times