Park iOS + Web
Simple. Modern. Parking.
Watch my PARK presentation at Hackshow Miami:
If you've ever parked in Miami, this one is for you. Otherwise, the Miami Parking Authority (officially known as the Department of Off-Street Parking of the City of Miami) is an accredited parking organization with the goal of meeting the community's parking needs and continuously striving for business excellence. The Miami Parking Authority envisions being the hub of all things parking in South Florida while simultaneously bettering Miami, Miamians, and all of the transplants that move here for sunny skies, rainy summers, empanadas, and cafecito (and so many other things but, I digress).
Did you know that in 2008, Miami became the first major U.S. city to start accepting mobile payments for parking? The Miami Parking Authority was a catalyst for transitioning the parking experience from meter to mobile.
Although Miami-Dade County helped catapult a shift from traditional to digital payment, there are some challenges when it comes to mobile payment parking apps. There are several mobile payment parking apps in Miami and greater South Florida, and multiple municipalities that should work together but currently do not. PayByPhone dominates the MPP app industry in Miami, but it is not the only app (ParkMobile is another popular one in Miami, for example).
Within the MPP apps, there are pain points that can be addressed. Initially, I chose to create a parking app because of my own pain point when it comes to mobile payments parking (MPP) apps: because multiple municipalities use different apps, I found myself consistently having to download new apps just to park! Meanwhile, I have Sprint - so my cell service only works when it wants to (I’m hoping for a miracle now that they merged with T-Mobile), and more often than not, my experience using mobile parking payment apps was unpleasant.
I couldn’t base the Park app solely off of my own experiences, so I had to do some qualitative and quantitative research to really understand MPP app users’ current habits, pain points, motivations, and goals.
Before I began the research, I created a lean survey canvas and lean UX canvas. The lean survey canvas helped me decide on survey questions to ask, and the lean UX canvas aided in identifying and analyzing the big picture on both the user and business end.
I had to define business metrics that would help me understand Park's success. These metrics included increased customer acquisition and retention, positive reviews, and the Miami Parking Authority approving and implementing the Park application.
After understanding the client, challenge, and business, I was able to conduct research. Based on 162 survey responses and 8 interviews, I found that 70% of respondents use parking apps to pay for parking, and 50% of them say it takes 2-5 minutes to complete the entire process – which is a long time in our current digital world.
I found a chance to interrupt a Miami Dade Parking Enforcement officer during his shift and asked him some questions. His most valuable feedback was “I don’t represent the city so I’m not going to answer philosophical questions” (I get it man – just doing your job. No hard feelings.)
Research Analysis + Insights
To analyze the research, I created an affinity map using a ridiculous amount of post it notes. I came up with these main insights:
Mobile payment parking apps are convenient
Onboarding takes too long
People don’t like downloading multiple parking payment apps
Most think the apps are outdated and can be modernized
I know post it notes are a staple in a UX Designer's diet but I feel environmentally unfriendly using this much paper (then I found out about RealTimeBoard and my existential thoughts about post it notes and my career subsided)
Based on my main insights, I was able to come up with my How Might We statement:
How might we modernize mobile parking payment apps to speed up the process for users while providing partnership opportunities between multiple municipalities?
Fun fact: there are more female drivers, but males drive more. This research plus the qualitative and quantitative research I conducted helped me identify my user persona: Parking Pam.
Parking Pam is an essential part of UX design. Design thinking runs the entire process, and the first step is empathy. She represents my target audience, and allows me to better empathize with my user.
What you need to know about Parking Pam: She is a 28 year old, single millennial living in Miami, working as a real estate agent and is also part time student. She is doing very well in real estate but she hates working on weekends and wants a job that interests her more. She has to drive constantly to meet her clients, and often needs to pay for street parking using mobile parking payment apps.
After identifying my user persona, I was able to create a user journey. As we know, Parking Pam is a busy real estate agent who is skilled at putting miles on her car. Pam is doing well financially and just got a new car - she is trading her Prius to a Porsche Panamera (you go, Pam)! She showed up to meet a client and had to update her vehicle information in the MPP app she was using, which made her late to her appointment! She was frustrated and wished there was a quicker, more modern way to update her car information.
Based on Pam’s journey, I was able to ideate and brainstorm possible solutions, which then lead to creating the happy path for the Park iOS application.
The Real MVP
Parking Pam and her journey were defined, and I was able to empathize with her. Based on the pain points and opportunities identified in her user journey, I was able to move on to the research analysis step: the MOSCOW Prioritization, which helped me identify my minimum viable product (MVP). MOSCOW defined my must have, should have, could have, and won't have features.
My MVP turned out to be modernization. Park would become the most modern mobile parking payment apps by including specific features: automatic location zone population using GPS, license plate photo capture, SunPass detection and payment, and a Siri option.
Now that I understood what it would take for Pam to have an exceptional experience using a mobile payment parking app, I began to plan out the user flow based on her happy path. The user flow consists of starting and ending processes, user events, and user decisions. In layman's terms, the user flow maps out every step Pam would take to achieve her goals from the moment she begins using the app to the moment she completes her tasks. After creating the initial prototypes, I had to reiterate the user flow to represent the valuable feedback from testers.