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Daily Parkers: Case Study

Daily Parkers is an App design for Ontario Parks day use services. The App facilitates a visitor's planning process by providing a simple real-time tracker of capacity and availability for each Ontario provincial park.

Project Type: Academic (Brainstation)
Timeline: 10 weeks, June to August 2021
Role: UX/UI Design, UX Research, Design Strategy
Tools: Figma, FigJam, Sketch, InVision, Illustrator

Problem Space

​There is no App for Ontario Parks Reservation System. There is an Ontario Parks App you can download for Android devices, however functions are extremely limited. For day users, the first come, first serve system is not reliable due to capacity filling up too fast. It is extremely difficult to find out about remaining capacity at any given time – especially on your way there – and no visibility of the number of available spots left.

 

Although there is a new pilot for reserving for day use at a handful of parks, having quick and reliable access to real-time information would solve many issues.

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A Solution

An Ontario Parks ‘Day Trippers’ App that helps facilitate a visitor's planning process. It can provide access to a real-time tracker that quickly shows each location's capacity and availability (following a simple and familiar system), as well as being able to reserve a day trip to 17 of the 45 locations – as per recent piloted program – without having to go through the website’s Reservation System. 


Quicker and simpler access will generate more visitors to the right park. This will simplify the day use experience for avid Ontario Parkers, as well as give opportunity to new visitors to explore a location, and potentially plan for future overnight visits.

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12%

of respondents commented that the reservation service had helpful photos and other media to help choose which campsite to visit.

9%

commented that the system was well designed.

96%

of respondents selected resting and relaxing as their top activities during their provincial park visit, and viewed it as an opportunity to get away and unwind.

Main Interviewee Insight

An existing system on the Ontario Parks website allows visitors to make reservations for day-use at select parks, or over night camping trips.

 

There are recurring issues however, and many of the frustrations come from this reservation system alone.

Empathy Insight

After a few interviews, it was clear that the website's current reservation system was the main problem, raising frustration and creating a negative experience from the very beginning of the planning process. 

Another observation was the concern of lower day use capacity limits due to new Covid-19 restrictions. For day users, arriving to a park could be a gamble of being allowed entry or not.

All people interviewed admitted to being very happy once at a park, and overall experience was enjoyable. 

By focusing the day use reservation app to track available spots in real-time, we can improve the user experience.

“I enjoy Wasaga Beach. I don’t enjoy the journey to get to this destination.”

— Maria

“There’s not a system [that] allows you to find what’s still available… it’s very hard to navigate.”

— Jean

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Persona & Journey Map

The interview insights helped create a synthesis of existing behaviors. From here, we explore a persona with similar data responses.

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Application Information Architecture

Evaluating the existing website's reservation system helped structure an overall app flow for the user's journey. For this project, I focused on creating the following sections: Sign Up, Create Account, and Availibity/Reservation. 

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Not included in this project.

Workflow Sketch 

After a few sketches on the go, combining all the ideas into one workflow helped define the overall structure for user flows and wireframes.

 

This sketch became the main reference source for the task at hand, and the quickest way in modifying ideation throughout the process. 

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Task Flow 1 – Creating an Account

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Wireframe 1 – Creating an Account

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Task Flow 2 – Making a Reservation

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Wireframe 2 – Making a Reservation

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UI Elements

To begin the style package for this project, I used familiar elements to voice the existing Ontario Parks Website and brand. This included the Font Family Calibri and the company’s primary colors. 

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User Testing and Feedback​


After designing a high fidelity version of the app, I had 3 people user test the prototype. I collected and reflected the feedback from the comments received. I added this feedback as descriptions to my Sketch file while making modifications. Below is a series of screenshots of the edited pages, supported by either a personal note (in black) or a user’s note (in red). 

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Learnings

The biggest challenge was thinking beyond my bias. Understanding what the users point of view is and practicing this into strategic thinking helped shape some solutions beyond my personal choices.

Next Steps

I would expand on the heuristic evaluation of the user interface design. There may be a chance to revisit the original Ontario Parks website to help conduct this evaluation further.

The frame of the design was first build around a 360x640 pixel layout, following an 8-point soft grid system. There is opportunity to expand the layout to other responsive mobile units.

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