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Parallel UI/UX
UX Research & High-fidelity prototypes (2018)

 Overview

Parallel is an app proposal and prototype to aid users find, pay for, and navigate street parking in the city. It was inspired by Richmond Virginia's difficult-to-understand parking laws.

 My Role

Content Strategy, Market Research, UI/UX Design

Outlook —

Problem/Opportunity Statement

Navigating public, free street parking in urban environments imposes the challenges of understanding complex signage, parking duration limits, and avoiding tickets. Most private applications on the market for finding parking are limited to paid parking spots, often favoring lots and garages. And while some municipalities have partnered with existing parking applications to streamline payment for metered street parking, the market still lacks a comprehensive solution for drivers encumbered by the troubles of finding regular street parking in the city.

Problem Breakdown

  • The opaqueness surrounding parking rules and regulations makes city-parking hazardous and drivers at risk for receiving tickets/citations.
  • Relevant resources for drivers parked in public street parking are spread out and difficult to locate.
  • Drivers must by hyper-vigilant of their parking situations at all times to avoid stress.

Project Goals

  • Truncate and simplify the process of finding, paying for, and managing one’s car while parked in public street parking.
  • Compile resources such as city parking ordinances, towing contact information, and payment methods into one easy-to-use application.
  • Reduce instances of citations and tickets for users.

Discovery

Market Research

Summary and findings: There is a gap between navigation apps like Waze/Google Maps and parking apps like SpotHero and BestPark. Once a user arrives at their destination, there is no function to find public street parking. The existing parking apps and spaces are quite expensive, ranging from $20-60+ and mostly show garages which charge by the hour.

Parking and navigation apps utilize existing mapping software, similar or the very same as that produced by Google. This is a familiar interface for most cellphone users. The colors are muted/toned. Predominant color palettes are greens, blues, grays, and cool yellows. Apps provide extended details on the amenities and restrictions associated with parking choices. These include extra security, wheelchair access, valet parking, car size restrictions, etc.

Surveys

Participants: 100+
Source: Public posting

Summary and findings: Key finding: Over 50% of the surveyed population has received at least 1 ticket or had 1 towing incident in the past six months. 59.4% of these incidents occurred because the driver had surpassed the time limit (typically 1-2 hours) for that parking region. 10.1% occurred because the driver had forgotten to move their cars during days/times when parking is prohibited (such as during scheduled street sweeping). This signals a need for an automatic reminder to drivers to move their cars, as this pain point is the reason for most parking incidents that incur a fine.

Select quotes from survey responses:

  • ”Sometimes I feel uncomfortable by the fact they take my eyes off the road, which is especially dangerous in a city.”
  • “Big navigator apps can get clunky, there isn’t anything that helps with small things like parking regulations for certain streets”
  • “It would be nice if it could show the price for parking decks/street parking so I could compare the ones near me. You can do that with gas stations on Google maps so it would be cool to do that with parking decks too”
  • “I love waze because it shows me where police are. I don’t like it because sometimes I feel like it is taking me a much longer way than I need to go.”
  • “The verbal directions are usually easy to just listen to.”
  • “I like the community aspect of waze that allows regular people to be able to report police traps, construction, etc.”

Information Architecture

A main goal of this project is for users to understand their surroundings quickly in order to find the best parking quickly and without a hassle. Therefore, I decided to structure the app around a searchable map with secondary functions housed within a pull-up menu.

Key Functions

Find Parking Populates parking based on 3 criteria (price, density, and distance) based on current or chosen location. Navigates the user to the parking spot.

Payment Services Uses location services to identify parking spot and cost. Connects with municipality databases to process the transaction and notes the time that the vehicle should be moved or the meter topped-up.

Push Notifications Reminds users to move their car before their parking expires or during parking prohibited days/times.

Community Enable reports of meter maids in nearby areas and notify users if they are in a “danger-zone”. Display contact information for the towing company in close by jurisdictions for users whose cars have gone missing.

Registration/Saved Information The app saves information such as your car license plate, encrypted payment options and common destinations to streamline repeat instances of finding parking.

Prototype