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PARKEXPLORER

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ParkExplorer: Bio

THE CHALLENGE

Create an easy, fun way to learn about NYC public parks that captures the delight of the outdoors

THE RESOURCES

Type: Responsive website

Team: 3 members

Timeline: 2 weeks

SKILLS

User interviews, survey design, affinity mapping, personas, feature prioritization, design studio, information architecture, wireframing, prototyping, usability testing, stakeholder presentation

ParkExplorer: List

New York City is home to over 5,000 public parks that are as diverse as the city itself. However, it’s difficult to get accurate, up-to-date information on park conditions and features. My team took on the challenge of creating a new way to learn about public parks that offers a dynamic, personalized experience for users craving time outdoors.

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RESEARCH

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METHODS

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CONTEXTUAL INQUIRY

  • Interviewed eleven visitors in Washington Square Park

  • Asked about reasons for visiting, park discovery tools, and selection process

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SCREENER SURVEY

  • Recieved 50 responses

  • Analyzed demographics and park-related preferences, tools, and behaviors

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USER INTERVIEWS

  • Conducted twelve interviews

  • Collected experiential and cognitive data

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COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE

  • Plotted market positioning of thirteen park-related apps and websites

  • Analyzed based on niche appeal and frequency of information updates

ParkExplorer: Team Members

PERSONAS

We wrote all of our observations down on post its and clustered them into an affinity map. From this we created our persona, Isabella.

ParkExplorer: Text
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ISABELLA

Age 33
Mother of two
Active lifestyle

“I want to pass my love of the outdoors

on to my kids.”

ParkExplorer: Bio

Goals

  • Go to family friendly parks with no crowding

  • Have a happy and safe trip

  • Enjoy a relaxed environment with friends & family

  • Enjoy beautiful nature and wildlife

  • Avoid unexpected disappointment

Behaviors

  • Searches for specific park features online

  • Goes to neighborhood parks

  • Enjoys activities such as running, walking, picnicking

  • Discovers parks accidentally while walking and driving by

Needs

  • Credible reviews from people with similar needs

  • Visual information about the park

  • Know park features, layouts, and amenities beforehand

Pain points

  • Lack of specific park information (child safety features, shade, crowding)

  • Lack of relevant (parent) reviews

  • Lack of up to date general information about parks (fare, opening hours in different seasons) 

ParkExplorer: List

PROBLEM STATEMENT VERSION 1

The right park can provide a family with a safe environment where they spend quality time together being active; parents go to park websites and use online reviews from previous park users to assess specific park conditions.


Isabella finds it difficult to find up-to-date information from users with the same needs about factors that can make or break her trip such as whether a playground is age-appropriate or shaded.


How might we help her assess park conditions while keeping in mind her specific family-friendly park requirements?

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PIVOT

After feedback from our colleagues on our data synthesis process, we realized that we needed to make a pivot. Our persona, Isabella, only represented half of our data. The other data came from people without children who made a vastly different user and weren’t being represented accurately by our persona with kids. With this feedback, before moving on we decided to go back to the data and create a second persona, Emily.

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EMILY

Age 29
Single
Nature enthusiast

“Being by the water brings me peace of mind after a long day at work in the city.”

ParkExplorer: Bio

Goals

  • Get away from the city

  • Enjoy nature and wildlife

  • Spend quality time with friends and family

  • Relax

Behaviors

  • Prefers to go to parks with waterfront

  • Avoids playgrounds

  • Chooses parks based on proximity

  • Hiker, runner, picnicker

  • Looks for green areas on Google Maps to discover parks

Needs

  • Park reviews

  • Photos

  • Map of specific features and amenities (bathroom location, picnic areas, flat ground)

Pain points

  • Parks are not always what she expects

  • Crowded parks make it hard to relax

  • Visits multiple websites to find all the information she needs

ParkExplorer: List

PROBLEM STATEMENT VERSION 2

The right park can provide a visitor with a relaxing natural space where they can spend quality time with friends and family; visitors go to multiple websites to find park information, reviews, and photos to plan their visits.


Emily and Isabella find it difficult to filter through all the disparate park information available online to find the exact information that can make or break their trip.


How might we help them assess park conditions while keeping in mind the specifics that make each of them happy?

ParkExplorer: Text

DESIGN

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Isabella needed to be able to quickly identify whether a park was kid friendly and fit the ages and preferences of both her and her children. Emily wanted clear photos of parks and to know what types of outdoor activities she could do with her friends. They both wanted to be able to read real user reviews that would tell them if a park was noisy or poorly maintained. 


It was then that we came up with the concept for ParkExplorer, a responsive website that would serve as a fun, easy to use way to find detailed, accurate information on public parks with real user reviews. 


We listed out all of the possible features and did used the MoSCoW mapping technique to rate features on scales of impact and effort. From this, we determined our minimum viable product.

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We did a design studio for the two main pages of the site, the homepage and the park profile page. From there, we extrapolated what a filters page might look like, search results, and a map view of results. We did two rounds of usability testing with a paper prototype and then moved on to develop a set of mid-fi wireframes.

ParkExplorer: Text
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HOMEPAGE

Insight: Users want to find parks by name, proximity, or feature

Feature: Versatile search on home page and inspiration buttons to search by activity

SEARCH RESULTS

Insight: Individual users prioritize proximity, photos, and ratings differently in their selection process

Feature: Multiple views and sorting options for search results accommodating different user priorities

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PARK DETAILS

Insight: Users want a friendly, visual way to evaluate park options

Feature: Park detail page with photos, details about amenities, and reviews

ParkExplorer: News

USABILITY TESTING

We did three rounds of usability testing with our prototype and discovered two problems. Some features of the homepage weren’t clear, and users weren’t using the filter or map views of results. We went back to our designs and made some changes before developing a hi-fi version of the website.

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Homepage

Insight: Users didn't understand that the arrow could be clicked to reveal more search options.

Action: Remove the arrow and shift buttons above the fold. 

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Search results

Insight: Users didn't take advantage of filters and map view options at bottom of search results.

Action: Move buttons to header.

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DELIVERY

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