Interview evaluation

We conducted two interviews, one with a private detective and one with a police detective, in order to gain more insight in the investigation process of both private and federal investigators. In this blog post we want to publish our findings.

First interview – private detective

The interviewee

Our first interviewee is a 43 year old private detective who owns a private investigation firm. She has many years of experience in private investigations and has a degree in criminalistics. She has a managerial position in the company and acts a team leader in most of the investigations.

Interview evaluation

We split the interviews up into several different areas of interest. We want to present our findings based on these areas.

Company structure – The private investigation firm has a flat hierarchy where a certain set of people work as a team on a case. The team is lead by a team leader who is usually the owner himself.

Procedures – The research for a case is done by using specialized databases and the internet. For each step in the investigation process a report is written. The line of reasoning in the reports is supported by documentary evidence such as photos, videos and tracking information (via GPS).

Data protection – All evidence is stored in sealed storage units. Only the team leader is allowed to access the storage units and each access is protocolled. The protection of the data is of paramount import and therefore the team uses advanced encryption technology, virus protection software, firewalls and has no open WiFi.

Closing of a case – A case is considered closed when all requirements of the client are met. The client receive the results including crucial evidence. All other material is physically destroyed.

Feedback – The will to used optimized software and specialized technical is tools is there but the legislator sets a framework of conditions that have to be met.

Second interview – police detective

The interviewee

Our second interviewee is a 39 year old police detective who works for the criminal investigation department. He finished his professional education at the police.

Interview evaluation

Company structure – The typical deep hierarchy of the police departments in Germany. In interdisciplinary teams a coordinator is appointed.

Procedures – In field work forensic scientists are summoned as required. Usually the detectives jot down the witness statements and the crime scene is documented using photos and/or videos. Later on a report is written for the operation. Research is done using specialized databases and older cases are consulted for guidance.

Data protection – Collected evidence is stored in the evidence room and each detective accessing evidence is protocolled. Digital data is exchanged using encrypted portable storage devices. For reasons of security we were denied further information about the IT infrastructure.

Closing of a case – A final report for a case is commissioned by the lead investigator. Evidence is kept according to federal law (most likely for several years).

Feedback – Such a system could be evaluated by using it in smaller cases. The investigator could envision using smart devices like tablets in the field work.

Design principles

We were asked to formulate three design principles that we derived from our interview findings:

  1. The system must be designed to be used very intuitively
    • Some of the detectives might be older and have long years of experience with analog investigation techniques and therefore might not be able or willing to use such a system
    • The system could be first evaluated in police training facilities in order to train investigators in the use
  2. Research is crucial part in the investigation and therefore should be covered by the system
    • Important specialized databases could be included with a simple speech and gesture based interface
  3. The system should have high standards concerning data protection
    • The system should recognize if unauthorized persons are in the room and should turn black then
    • From the beginning of the development on we should keep in mind that such a system, once market ready, has to comply with the federal law concerning privacy and data protection

Storyboards

We created two storyboards that show how people could interact with our software. We chose to depict two different scenarios. The first scenario shows how crime scene investigators could collect evidence from a scene of crime and populate the database with information and photos of the evidence. The second scenario shows how investigators could use the system to evaluate the information they gathered and how it might help them solve their case.

Storyboard 1 – Collecting evidence

This storyboard is set in a scenario where the investigators first arrive at a crime scene. A person was murdered and the investigators are collecting the evidence. Later on they document the evidence by inserting them into the database of our software. Once all evidence was entered into the system, connections between them are created. Creating these connections is a key feature of the system and helps the investigators to set pieces of information into a greater context by adding semantic information to the relationship of pieces of information to each other. There will be different types of information (or entities as they are called in the software). The types could include locations, evidence, persons, etc.

Image

Storyboard 2 – Evaluating the information

This storyboard is set in the same scenario but a little further down the investigation process. All evidence is gathered and evaluated, and several suspects have been interviewed. Now the investigation team gathers and uses the system to find new clues. This storyboard shows the three main tools that the software offers: the entity map, the timeline, and the map. The entity map shows all pieces of information that the investigators gathered and puts them into context by showing their relationship to each other. The timeline and the map put the information into a temporal or spatial context to each other respectively. The investigators use these tools to find out which of the suspects could most likely be the killer. Finally they are able to narrow it down to one person and solve the case. As seen in the storyboards the users can interact with the system in several different ways, e.g. voice commands, hand gestures, and the usual forms of input devices. We want the software to be agnostic to the form of input, so that users may interact with the system in a way that suits the task and their personal preferences.

Image

 

Interviews and Storyboards

We started out by thinking about who the people were that would eventually be using the software we are going to develop. Our main target group are investigators and private detectives. Because of that very specific target group we were not able to conduct our interviews on friends or passerby’s. Our target group of people is extremely hard to get by but we tried to get some of them to give us an interview nonetheless. We contacted a lot of police departments and private investigation firms and asked them for an interview, but unfortunately the timeframe of two weeks was too short of a range for most of them. None of them consented to give us a personal interview but two of them asked us for the questions and agreed to answer them and send us their results. Both of them did not return their results in time. Therefore we could not complete our assignment and weren’t able to draw conclusions and create storyboards based on our findings.

Interview guidelines

With our interviews we wanted to reach two goals: firstly we wanted to find out how our target group does their every-day work and how they would engage in the radically different system that we thought up. Secondly we wanted to find out more about the psychological aspects of such a system. Therefore we broke the interview into two parts. The first part is designed for our target group and is therefore semi-structured and consists of a set of questions. The second part is designed for a psychologist and is unstructured. It only consists of basic areas that we laid our focus on. We found a business psychologist who is an expert in finding out how people interact with products and what their problems and fears are.

Target group interview

Since all of our interviewees are Germans we designed our interview questionnaires in German. We split up the questions of the questionnaire for our target group into several different categories.

Einführung

Begrüßung. Wie heißen Sie?

Wie alt sind Sie?

Welcher Arbeit gehen Sie nach?

In welchem Betrieb arbeiten Sie?

Welchen Bildungsweg sind Sie bis zu Ihrem Job gegangen?

Wie wird aus technischer Sicht aktuell im Betrieb gearbeitet? Welche elektronischen Geräte werden verwendet (PC, Smartphone, Digitalkamera)?

Strukturen

Welche Personen sind in einer Ermittlung tätig?

Gibt es eine Strukturierung/Hierarchie innerhalb des Betriebs? Hat die Arbeit eine Projektstruktur oder gibt es eine feste Arbeitsverteilung?

Werden regelmäßig/bei Bedarf Meetings einberufen?

Abläufe

Können Sie den Ablauf eines typischen Außeneinsatzes schildern?

Können Sie die Arbeitsaufgaben im Bereich der Büroarbeit beschreiben?

Auf welchem Wege werden neue Erkenntnisse aus den vorliegenden Beweisen gezogen? Wer ist in diesem Prozess vertreten?

Daten

Welche Daten werden im Laufe einer Ermittlung gesammelt?

Auf welche Art werden Daten und Beweise zusammengetragen (digital, schriftlich, Beweismittel)?

Existieren Protokolle über Beweisketten (Beweismittel) und Quellen (Aussagen, Erkenntnisse, Beobachtungen)?

Wie werden Daten (IT, Aktenordner) und Beweise gelagert?

Datenschutz

Welche Personen haben Zugriff auf die gesammelten Daten?

Wie wird mit außenstehenden Personen verfahren (Datenschutz, z.B. Spurensicherung)? Haben diese Personen auch Zugriff auf die Daten?

Welche Infrastrukturen sind im IT-Bereich vorhanden? Welche Sicherheitsmaßnahmen werden ergriffen?

Abschluss eines Falls

Wann gilt ein Fall als abgeschlossen? Wird ein Abschlussberichtangefertigt? Wenn ja, von wem?

Was passiert mit den gesammelten Daten und Beweisen nach Abschluss eines Falls?

Projektvorstellung/Feedback

Wie könnte ein solches System in Ihren Alltag integriert werden?

Könnte man mit weiteren Hilfsmittel (Tablets, Smartphones) den Außeneinsatz optimieren oder vereinfachen?

Psychological interview

For the psychological interview we only defined some general areas of interest that we wanted to address during the interview with the business psychologist. These are the areas that we wanted to discuss:

  • Data protection caveats
  • Integration in the everyday work
  • Control concepts (comprehension and acceptance)

With these areas of interest we wanted to find out general flaws in our idea. Usually we would have had to wait for a user to actually engage with an early prototype of our system before we find out any general problems. In order to avoid some general pit falls we wanted to talk to someone who has a lot of experience with great product that failed because they had some basic flaws that detained possible customers from actually using the product.

Findings

The psychological interview is the only interview that we were actually able to conduct, we do not have any findings concerning our user group. Therefore we are only able to present the findings concerning the psychological aspects of our project. We structured our findings according to the three areas of interest that we defined in our interview.

Data protection caveats

  • Especially in Germany, people have strong caveats against anything concerning digital data management, therefore some of the investigators might actually not be using such a system out of fear that their data is not protected very well.
  • Investigators and detectives might fear that their superiors spy on them because with such a system it is very easy to comprehend who did what when. They could then, very easily, get in a situation where superiors question the quality of their work and the amount of time it took them to get it done.
  • Especially the administrators of the IT department would be very suspicious and concerned about the data protection. They might even refuse to use such a system.
  • Superiors could fear that such a central system that everyone has access to might enable some of their employees to steal and reveal information relevant to an investigation (e.g. in every major investigation some information is kept back in order to detect copycats).
  • Superiors might fear that they lose the control over investigation data.

Integration in the everyday work

  • Investigators and detectives might fear that such a system complicates their daily work and refuse to use it.
  • Investigators and detectives might have reservations against additional work (“I am not getting paid for this”-mentality).
  • People might refuse to use such a system because they deem it unperformant and rather do it the old-fashioned way.

Control concepts

  • People might fear their own incompetence and are afraid to use such a system because they do not want to do anything wrong and embarrass themselves in front of everyone.
  • Especially concerning the gesture control: people do not want to fidget in front of everyone and ridicule themselves.
  • Investigators and detectives might deem this system to be “just a toy” and therefore refuse to use it.
  • Many of the investigators in service are old, they might refuse to use such a system out of conservatism.

Evaluation

Since we are lacking the results of two interviews we saw ourselves unable to evaluate our findings and therefore decided to wait until all interview result arrive. Also we did not want to create our storyboards until we evaluated all of our interviews because it wouldn’t make any sense to create storyboards and overthrow all of it after we did a thorough evaluation of the interview.

Task breakdown

Lukas

  • Create interview questionnaire for the investigators
  • Find interview partners

Marcel

  • Contacted interviewees
  • Managed correspondence with the interviewees

Felix

  • Contacted interviewees
  • Managed correspondence with the interviewees

David

  • Created questionnaire for the psychological aspects
  • Conducted the psychological interview
  • Wrote blog post

Toolchain

Today, we have finally settled on a toolchain for the development of our project, therefore I want to give you some insights into the tools and technologies we are planning to employ:

  • Language – C# 5.0
  • IDE – Microsoft Visual Studio 2013
  • Project management & source control – Microsoft Team Foundation Server (hosted via Microsoft Team Foundation Services)
  • Technologies
    • Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) for the frontend using the Model-View-View-Model pattern (MVVM)
    • Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft SQL Compact Server as a database engine
    • Microsoft Entity Framework for object-relational mapping (ORM)
    • Kinect for Windows SDK for using the Kinect sensor

Since some of the team members are not familiar with these tools, we will have a tutorial tomorrow, where some of the tools and especially C# will be thematized.

Ideation results

Introduction

In this blog post we want to present to you the results of our brain-storming process concerning our mobile interaction project.

Brainstorming

We started off by brainstorming the general direction of our project. At first we settled on three different main directions that we were interested in: games, productivity tools and information display. The result of our brain-storming process can be seen in the following picture:

Bild

Next, we decided to think up different scenarios individually and share them with each other. Each team member was given three votes that they could cast on any scenario but their own. The votes had weights from 1 to 3 in order to express a preference towards a scenario. The following list sums up the scenarios the team members came up with:

  • Telemedicine – A large screen paired with a Kinect could be used in a medical context. One possible scenario could be a hospital admission, where the user is able to do the anamnesis on his own. The system could directly create a new patient file and find a suitable department (and possibly even a free bed), and enqueue the patient in the waiting line for a doctor based on the severity of his affection. Another scenario could be a platform for people living in third-world countries or rural areas where they can seek medical assistance for minor medical problems, without having to travel to the next big city.
  • Air terminal – At an airport the large screen could provider general information about departures. A Kinect sensor would recognize a person approaching the screen and switch to a personal assistance mode were the traveler is able to seek information specific to his flight, get directions or even self-check-in baggage. Even an assistance mode were a human operator could help the traveler via a webcam is thinkable.
  • Brain jogging & exercise – After a stressful meeting or a hard day of sitting in an office chair, office workers need a way to relax and revive. The large screen and the Kinect could be used to create some mini-games like memory to revitalize one’s spirits or mini-games like warm-up exercises for cardiovascular training after sitting all day long.
  • Air guitar hero – A Kinect-powered version of guitar hero would be the focus of attention at any party. Each player plays an instrument by just making the right motions.
  • Media library – The media library could manage all kinds of media including music, videos and pictures. At a party people could collaboratively create and edit playlists and families could sort, edit, and browse through the photographs taken at the last family vacation.
  • Quiz competition – A quiz competition between co-workers of different departments. Each department of a company could have a large screen were co-workers could play quiz games. At the end of each week the winning department will be elected. This could help bonding within departments and teams and also establish some friendly competition between different departments.
  • Starlit sky in the city – The large screen could be integrated in the roof of bus stops in large cities and display the current night sky view from the position of the bus stop. Because of light pollution in large cities the night sky, the stars and the milky way have almost become invisible. This could draw some attention to the issue and show the beauty of the night sky to city dwellers. People could even interact with the screen using the hand gestures and view thorough information about stars, nebulae and galaxies.
  • Flight simulator – The flight simulator would transform the player into a plane. The arms could be used as wings and by going up and down the altitude of the plane could be changed. Maps could be created collaboratively and players could create missions for fellow players, where they have to shoot enemies, collect items or fly to certain targets.
  • Collaboration software – By using the large screen as whiteboard for brainstorming and information sharing, it could be used as a portal for collaborating with distant co-workers and simplify working together even though being spatially apart.
  • CSI – The large screen coupled with a Kinect could be employed for storing, managing, and evaluating evidence and could thus be transformed into a central collaboration tool for crime scene investigators.

The following table presents the result of our vote:

Bild

Unfortunately there was a tie between CSI and the collaboration software. Therefore we conducted another vote with the final winner being the CSI scenario.

Project

After settling on a scenario, we all started developing new ideas and evolving them together. We dubbed the project „C.R.I.M.E“, which stands for „Crime scene investigation Repository for Intelligence Management and Evidence evaluation“. The software can be used to create files for investigations. All findings will be stored as entities. These entities can be categorized as persons, evidence and locations. Persons could either be victims, suspects, informers or any other person that is somehow involved with the investigation. Evidence entities can be subdivided into evidence and circumstantial evidence. Locations can include crime scenes, residences or other locations valuable for the investigation. Each entity may hold arbitrary information (e.g. descriptions and pictures). Associations between entities may be established (e.g. an evidence entity may be associated with the location where it was found or persons could be associated with other persons in order to express some kind of relationship between them). Each investigation can also contain a timeline where the investigators can comprehend the sequence of events based on the evidence.

C.R.I.M.E will also contain other productivity tools for research and evaluation. Everything in the application will be controlled with the voice and gestures. An investigator could, for example, ask a question and the system would make a query on knowledge bases like Wikipedia or Wolfram Alpha. Tools like fingerprint matching will be integrated right into the application.

This collaboration platform will be the center of all investigations and could be located in a public room that all investigators have access to or in a meeting room, where all investigators may gather, share their newest information and feed it to C.R.I.M.E.

User profile

While developing the project idea we had to create a persona and identify our target group of people in order to find out what their motivations are and what they would expect from a tool like C.R.I.M.E. We called our persona „Sherlock“ and the following list of properties describes him:

  • Fears
    • Not being able to solve a case
    • Disappointing victims
    • Overseeing some crucial evidence or detail
  • Motivations/Aims
    • Wants to make the world a better place
    • Uses new tools and techniques to incorporate information and make his job easier, more efficient and more successful
  • Likes
    • Organizing things
    • Putting things into context
    • Problem solving
    • Collaborating with people from different professions to enhance the results
  • Dislikes
    • Not being able to bring justice to criminals because of a lack of evidence or a procedural error
    • Disorganization
    • Working through a pile of unorganized information

Task breakdown

The following list breaks down the tasks that each member of team was assigned:

  • Marcel
    • Brainstorming
    • Scenario development (quiz competition, image sharing, starlit sky in the city)
    • Developing the persona
  • David
    • Brainstorming
    • Scenario development (Telemedicine, air terminal)
    • Creating the blog post
    • Developing the person
  • Lukas
    • Brainstorming
    • Scenario development (flight simulator, collaboration software, CSI)
    • Developing the person
  • Felix
    • Brainstorming
    • Scenario development (brain jogging, guitar hero, media library)
    • Developing the persona