Since its indroduction in 2002, the AMBER Alert system has been credited with over 750 child recoveries. Wireless Emergency Alerts have led to 17 children being rescued to date. 
Still, valuable opportunities remain open to improve upon the alert presentations with the aim of increasing their impact on mobile devices to better inform and engage the public. 



Role: UX and UI Designer

Tools: Pen and Paper, Illustrator

Scope: 5-day Design Sprint

Deliverable: research, user flow ideation, visualization

TEXT ALERT Pain Points

  • Limited in communication detail
  • Text only alerts assume user knowledge of vehicle makes, years and models
  • Users reported ignoring AMBER alert messages or forgetting information detail 
  • Passive alerts lack user engagement


  • Elevate level of descriptive information 
  • Introduce accurate images of vehicle make, model, color and license plates 
  • Enhance Emergency Alert Notifications with interactive connectivity to police
  • Integrated services with mobile geolocation 


Time is the Priority

Speed to safe recovery of missing children is the primary objective of all AMBER Alerts. Leveraging mobile communication progress is essential for meeting this goal.

Information to Users 

Current text based AMBER alerts can be difficult for people to utilize and act upon. Adding visualization of the vehicle and license plates provide a clearly defined target.

Focus Eyes on Target

By presenting people clear images of what to look for, the faster they can accurately recognize and report sightings to aid authorities working toward successful child rescues.

Mobile text based Emergency Alerts


Current text-only emergency alerts require a level of user knowledge and effort to utilize and act on the information. People unfamiliar with what a stated vehicle actually looks like may be unable to assist.


Pictures + Words

Enhanced AMBER Alert with full color images of target vehicle and state license plates to raise user comprehension of information.

Memory research shows reader comprehension and retention of material can increase over 80% when text is paired with images.

Evolve wireless emergency alerts from their current static state to have 2-way interactive ability to report sightings directly to police.


Report Options

Two ways to connect. Call 911 and Text 911 offers users flexibility to report quickly, conveniently and discretely when needed.

Text to 911

Direct text-to-911 with photo sharing expands theflow of real-time usable information including geolocation tagging.

Wireframe Ideation

Initial round of wireframes started as a mobile app. After user review however, decided to simplify detail and shift focus to redesigning mobile emergency alert notifications to integrate interactive capability. Pivoting to an operating system solution would expand reach all users without requiring a dedicated app download.


THE NEXT LEVEL Connected Cars & License Plate Recognition

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is requiring backup cameras become standard equipment on every new car sold in the U.S. by 2018.  Backup cameras could potentially be enabled with License Plate Recognition software to become a force multiplier in recovering missing persons.


Vehicle backup cameras activate without display to not distract drivers


Automated LPR software scans and confirms license plate matches


Vehicle alerts Police and connected cars in nearby proximity


Police can engage situation with greater precision and speed.


AMBER Alert icon appears on vehicle display. Driver taps icon to expand alert information detail.


Driver presented with information detail and full color images of target vehicle and license plate.


Driver notified of option to enable their Rearview Camera to passively scan for license plate matches.


Rearview Camera activated for license plate scanning. User can cancel at anytime.