How did we come across this problem?
December 2019, I participated in the Design Challenge for Intuit. I enjoyed creating this short-term project because of the interesting given topic:
Vanessa lives in an urban neighborhood—and her commute everyday ends with a hunt for parking. Some of her struggles that she faces while looking for a parking spot are:
• Time consuming street sweeping
• Confusing parking restrictions
• Inconsistent payment methods
What problem are we addressing?
How might you leverage technology to help those who hunt for parking spots in urban neighborhoods find parking spaces quickly and effortlessly to move on with their day smoothly?
For my secondary research, I conducted a few interviews with peers who lived in an urban neighborhood and used parking spaces on a daily basis. With this round of interviews with those with experience, I wanted to find out more about their stories, struggles and understand the holistic experience of hunting for parking spaces. Primarily focused on drivers who were comfortable with technology to circle back to "how I could leverage technology as a solution to this problem". From these interviews I wanted to understand what their experiences were and find out the main pain points for improvement.
To understand more about the parking experiences, I interviewed three of my peers who hunt for parking in an urban location on a daily basis.
"Street parking is something that is the most convenient when available but the most inconvenient when limited. I use SpotAngels but it's difficult to determine which sides of the street"
- Interviewee #1, (25)
"Biggest pain points for finding parking are lack of consistency in payment methods (payments in general are painful, I guess) and no accurate way of locating available spots."
- Interviewee #2, (28)
Where are the empty spaces?
Inform users about availability of spaces
Parking signs are difficult to read…
Clear information communication
How do we pay for parking?
Ability to pay directly from app
Unsure how much time you have left for parking
Notify time remaining for parking spot
After the insights from my interview, to see how other business try to tackle the same issue and see their success and pain points, I looked into the existing products who target the same users and solve a similar problem.
I learned the importance of clear visual communication and accessibility for the users who are driving. Therefore, simplicity of steps and easily understandable information was the priority for Spot.
How did others approach the problem? What can we learn from them?
• Easy UI for street parking
• Sides of street undetermined
• Difficult to retain information
• Parking garage in big cities
• Apple pay and wallet
• Misinformation: false alerts
After my research, I jotted down my thought process on the existing parking aid systems to rapid ideation brainstorm and set my main goals for my proposal. With quick ideations on paper, I was able to make changes easily and clearly define specific problems that I wanted to address, prioritize and stay organized.
1. Lessen choice making
2. Clear parking instructions
3. Pay directly from device
Brainstorm & Ideation
Sketches & thought process
Meet Jeff and Rosie!
User Journey Map
What is the user's experience when using Spot?
Some of the actionable discoveries I found through journey mapping were:
💡 Seamless process for drivers
Searching, finding, and taking action is a consistent process, and my goal is to make this experience seamless.
💡 Misleading Information
Parking signs are often confusing to many users - especially because of the inconsistent information design.
💡 Consider the User's Situation
When users are using the app Spot, they are in a sitation where they are multi-tasking - therefore it's important to keep their accesibility in mind when designing.
💡 Live update of remaining time
Users who park their cars are often thinking about the remaining time of the parking space. Having a reminder will help their thoughts at ease.
My goals and aim for the product
Users can depend on the app with live remaining time update notifications.
Users will no longer have to struggle with hunting for a parking space.
Ensure users are understanding the correct information and build a dependable platform.
In order to understand what the users' experience is while interacting with our product, I built a first draft of user flow. This helped with organizing how the flow will be structured within the platform and I was able to construct and edit throughout the design while building the flow. Color coding each categories by onboarding, home and additional features helped with classifying each features.
On my first draft of sketches, I roughly sketched out the screens according to the user flow and came up with varation of versions of screens. By sketching out the main screens, I was able to make quick changes to the flow, add elements easily and ideate on some possible layouts for the UI.
Paper Ideation and Brainstorming
After the paper lo-fi prototypes, I decided to create digital wireframes for easier usability testing. Not only did the digital wireframes help to refine and organize the overall flow of the screens, but it also made usability testing process feasible. To some of my potential users, I allowed them to interact with the wireframes freely and observed their actions to evaluate the screen flow.
Digital Ideation and Brainstorming
For the payment process of the app, I tried 2 variations of designs, option A taking half of the screen space and option B the whole screen.
After the quick A/B Testing on the payment process, Option B allowed users to communicate the information clearly and made the payment method more feasible.
Changes after testing the wireframe flow with users
After creating the wireframe drafts, I moved onto building a style guide for the UI elements for Spot. My set goals for the overall style guide was to keep it simple, easily visible and accessible for anyone. Keeping accessibility in mind, the main body fonts are larger than 16px and chose Helvetica Neue for clear legibility.
Hi Fi Prototype
Conclusion & Feedback
Feedback - Room for Growth
After presenting this to several talented designers, these are the feedback I recieved:
→ Simple, easy to use
→ Ability to choose only parking lots should be an available option
→ Difficult to identify which available spots are open
Although this was a short-term project, I enjoyed going through the whole design process from identifying the problem, user research and testings, creating wireframes and making iterations. Some of the key takeaways from this short term project were:
→ Broaden the user range: Adding in different language - those who have a hard time trying to read parking signs in english
→ Know the limits for your product: Currently, there are 5 million parking meters in the US - this application would only be applicable for smart parking meters.