This section features three projects completed while working on the Masters: a design proposal document, a design challenge, and a development assignment.
Proposal Document: Dublin Parking Application
This assignment involved identifying a common issue, and conducting a period of indepth research and analysis before proposing a design solution. The challenge was to identify user needs, and create a proposal that addressed them. It was a group project that was never brought through the design stage.
The challenge we chose to address was finding and paying for parking in Dublin.
The full document is available here. Below is a summary of the work we undertook.
Understanding the existing system
The first stage in the process was fully understanding the current system. We mapped out a number of workflows and processes that people went through while parking their car, as well as the potential pitfalls and system fails that may occur.
We mapped out each flow in the existing parking system.
Once the Dublin system was understood, we broadened our research to include parking in other cities in Ireland and abroad. Our research focused on six cities; in Ireland we looked at Galway, Cork, and Limerick; internationally, we researched London, New York, and San Francisco. We also looked at apps that currently solve the issue: JustPark is Airbnb for parking, while others map parking spots and availability, like Smooth Parking and Parker.
The final app we analysed was Dublin’s current solution, Parking Tag. We mapped out user flows, and highlighted areas the app could be improved.
Primary User Research
Following on from this body of research, we began conducting interviews and surveys with drivers in Dublin. The focus was trying to understand how people went about parking, what their thought process was, and what part of the process they failed at. The results of the interviews and surveys were all mapped out on post-it notes, and used to create affinity diagrams. This allowed us to group user concerns, and pinpoint areas of user concern that could be targeted in our solution. It also highlighted a number of confusing points that exist in the current system.
The final stage of the process was to take our insights and use them to propose a design solution. There were 4 key things that the research had pointed towards; the most important from a user perspective was implementing a tag on/tag off system when parking.
We defined 4 areas to focus the design effort on.
The insights led to the creation of a paper prototype, built with POP, which illustrated the proposed design workflow.
Vehicle Removal Application
The aim of this project was to take an existing workflow and redesign it. The assigned workflow was part of the Dublin City Council website, to report an abandoned vehicle for removal. The assignment was in two parts; the first to create a document detailing the main failings of the existing workflow, and the second to design a more effective one. The document is described below, and the full version is available here.
Analysing the workflow
The document broke down the workflow, and analysed it using Nielsen’s Usability Heuristics. There were 5 main issues that arose from the analysis; each issue was rated on the frequency of the issue, and the impact the issue had on the user journey. The 5 issues were: Help, User Controls & Inputs, Language, Error Handling & Prevention, and Complex Workflows.
The aim was to keep each issue as a one page punch line, so it was easily recognisable and digestible. The issue was highlighted using screen shots from throughout the workflow.
The redesign of the workflow took the insights from the heuristic review, and applied them as design drivers. A new, user centric workflow was developed. The designs were drawn in Sketch, before being imported to Principle. This allowed for full control of animations and transitions throughout the workflow.
New insights allowed us to define the design direction and informed the decisions we made.