This page provides a higher-level overview of my process as the UX researcher on a team with three other masters students for designing a university parking mobile app. This project was done as a part of the User Experience Design class at the University of Florida.
The Gator Community is facing a crucial problem of parking their vehicles on campus. Students find the parking rules confounding and are often late for their classes or meetings as they cannot find appropriate available parking spaces.
A mobile app that allow university students to find a cheap parking spot anywhere on the campus in a less amount of time. Students can also check the real-time status and decal information for all the parking lots on the campus.
User-Centered Design Process
What did we do?
During research, we conducted 2 focus group sessions with 3-5 university students in each session and interviews with 15 diverse UF students (5 Undergrad, 3 Grad, 7 PhD’s). Main goal of these focus group and interview sessions was to getting to know our target audience and collecting their thoughts/ideas/needs/complaints about the current parking situation on campus. We wanted to understand students’ good and bad past experiences with current parking situation as well as their expectations. I was one of the masters student who facilitated the user interview and focus group sessions.
After intensive brainstorming sessions with the team, our user research revealed that students who use university parking care about …
What did we discover?
Lack of information about real-time parking spots availability
“I drive! and have to leave 2 hr before when i have a meeting to find a parking and reach meeting on time.” — student
“real-time access to parking spots will be helpful, i would pay for reserving parking if I can (hours)” –student
Confusion about different types of decals and as a result getting tickets for wrong parking
“No proper system /decals for no parking areas” — student
Free parking opportunities
“I wish there was something that give me alerts about free/paid parking spots available near my department or area of interest beforehand.” –student
Based on our research, we characterized students who participated in focus groups and interviews into the following archetypes:
- The BusyBee — who is busy and does not want to loose time looking for parking spots.
- The person of commitment — someone who does not like being late for meetings and classes
- The planner — someone who likes to plan things ahead of time so that he is not late in meeting commitments.
- The systematic spender — someone who does not like spending recklessly or paying extra fees. someone who always have an eye out for free-stuff.
John, became our primary persona. John is a combination of a person who is busy, likes to always be on time and likes to plan early for meetings and other commitments. He also likes looking for free-stuff whenever possible, and hates paying fine.
Users needs an efficient way to find the closest bus stop from the parking lot. User can easily navigate through list of all the nearby bus stops to find the closest one.
What we learnt?
Users found it difficult and time consuming that they had to look through the long list of bus stops to find the one closest to their parking lot.
Instead of using list navigation, to make the process of finding the nearest bus stop efficient, we embedded the bus stop information over the map of the parking lot. User the now click on the parking lot map to locate the closest bus stop. We use the similar interaction strategy to provide decal information for each parking spot
Building the task flow, helped our team organize and specify the Parking Application functionality and its sequence.
Snippet of Mockups for the Parking App
We used Balsamiq design tool to create wireframes to how visual elements and interaction flow of the application.