Design research

Fire Escape

Proposal of IoT-based rapid fire escape solutions by linking mobile applications to fire detectors considering the characteristics high-rise buildings are vulnerable to


fire escape, high-rise building, product service system(PSS), design research

Collaborative with
Apr. - Dec. 2018 (9 months)
Design researcher 3, product designer 1

Project Overview

고층건물의 화재 발생 증가...

Difficult to quickly evacuate and rescue within Golden Time due to the characteristics of high-rise buildings

Since fires do not occur frequently, thorough desktop research was needed. Therefore we had to scrutinize the major causes of fire and the current countermeasures in place. In particular, when a fire breaks out in a high-rise building, evacuation manuals developed for regular buildings are insufficient and often make it difficult to evacuate.

This project set out to develop new tourism services for foreigners visiting in Busan. For the initiative, the project was carried out under the supervision of City of Busan and Design Council Busan. They requested new legible wayfinding signage and system design using service design process. For the testbed, three districts(Seomyeon, Haeundae, and Nampo area) where many tourists visit were chosen as pilots. Therefore, the aim of the project was to establish a standardized tourist information signage design that reflects the local characteristics of City of Busan.

Our team was charged with tasks for the user research such as identifying tourist segments, discovering their needs, and creating new opportunities. Signage design for wayfinding was conducted by the visual design team.

My Role

Design researcher, project manager at Backstage co.,ltd. : user research, data visualisation

Opportunity Identification

Field research

Three high-rise buildings located in Busan were visited in person to understand the current process related to fire evacuation.

Service safari: Experimental user research

Since fire is not a common phenomenon around us, we found a demand from 10 participants for 8 situations by creating a virtual environment for fire evacuate. For this, we rented a high-rise building which is located in Busan. Participants were encouraged to use prepared cards, including emotions and needs in a given situation, and put them on the board in order of priority. 

< 8 Evacuation scenarios >

Card sorting method

The participants attached cards based on their priorities to the feelings and thoughts they felt in each situation. We divided different roles to proceed the experiment in an efficient way. At first, we prepared boards at each scenario place to attach cards. I was in charge of facilitating to give instructions to testers holding the cards. I followed the tester in each scenario we made and explained the virtual situation of the fire in the high-rise building that the tester faced. Another person was in charge of recording the videos and deliver the recorded videos to the interviewer in the interview room.

In-depth interview

After the card sorting, we conducted 1:1 interviews and watched the recorded video together in order to ask in-depth questions about the reasons behind their choices. She was waiting for the participant in an interview room until they finished the service safari. They were watching the recorded videos together to remind his choice and ask the reason why the tester selected certain cards.

Clarify relations with each stakeholder 

We had an in-depth interview with 6 experts with expertise on this subject. (fireman, building manager, psychologist etc.) All of this basic data helped to clarify a tangled relations of the stakeholders.

Service blueprint

To identify the service context according to the order of the refuges, the face-to-face and other services of building managers and fire stations were arranged in context by drawing the Service Blueprint.


Time limit

Time needed for evaluation, and delay

Lack of confrontations

A lack of a rapid evacuation response system


People don't know how to safely evacuate

Difficulty to save

Due to the nature of the high-rise buildings, rescue is not easy

Conceptual Design

Co-creation workshop

A carefully designed co-creation workshop took place twice. The first workshop was aimed at creating ideas, and the second one was designed to assess and modify improved ideas from the perspective of investment effectiveness, feasibility and viability.

Evaluation for priority of ideas

The weighing of the evaluation factors was  calculated with experts to assess the suitability and importance of the ideas derived through brainstorming.

Positioning Map

Participants put up stickers with ideas on them and then an average value was calculated to create a priority.

The weighing of the evaluation factors was  calculated with experts to assess the suitability and importance of the ideas derived through brainstorming.

Positioning Map

Participants put up stickers with ideas on them and then an average value was calculated to create a priority.

Value Proposition

Key concept & benefits


Provide the optimized direction based on GPS location


Real-time information provision ensures mental security

Intuitive grasp

Voice and visual elements make it easier to find the correct path of evacuation

Be well prepared

Provide regular training and education even before a fire occurs

i-BUSAN : Five Types of Wayfinding Signage Based on Each Purpose

Wayfinding types were divided into five different categories according to behavioral andcognitive stages, and their forms were designed differently.