Collaboration with Rae Lasko and Sally Zhao, Fall 2016


User Research


Mobile App

Parkit is a peer economy application that makes parking more efficient by connecting commuters and driveway owners. Commuters can easily reserve parking spots and driveway owners can earn income by utilizing parking spots when they are not in use.

Parking availability has a critical influence on people's driving experience.

According to IBM's global parking survey, drivers worldwide have spent an average of nearly 20 minutes looking for a parking spot.

Parking frustration is impacting commuter's productivity and the city's economy

The reports also estimated that over 30 percent of traffic in a city is caused by drivers searching for a parking spot. Over half of all drivers in 16 of the 20 cities surveyed reported that they changed their destinations because they were frustrated in pursuit of a parking spot.

I interviewed two people about their experience with parking in Pittsburgh. I asked what their priorities were and used directed storytelling to understand the pain points in the street parking process. We also researched how parking system works in Pittsburgh to understand how it influences people's parking experience.


Different parking needs

There are two types of parking needs: Long-term parking with a recurring schedule and one-time parking for spontaneous need. Drivers tend to struggle more with one-time parking because it's much more unpredictable.


Planning ahead

Drivers tend to plan ahead and think about where to park before they leave. Most drivers have the motivation and need to reserve parking spots in advance to avoid the hassle.


How do I get there?

After finding a parking space, getting there is another issue. For one-time parking, drivers are often unfamiliar with the area.


We generated 20 scenarios that describe how the app can deliver value to the personas. Through this process, we were able to address potential break points and came up with possible solutions to resolve them. We scoped down to three scenarios that cover the essential features of our application.

Minimum effort for pocket money

→ Auto-accept

Auto-accept listings skip approval from driveway owners during reservation. Driveway owners can customize auto-accept threshold with commuter's rating and other credentials.

Parking time is hard to predict

→ Flexible time extension

The application notifies the commuter few minutes before the reservation expires. If the parking is not reservated afterwards, the commuter can extend his/her reservation.

Parking availability changes rapidly

→ Watch search

What if commuters don't find the parking space they want? Commuters can watch the search and if somebody checks out earlier and the parking becomes available, notification is sent.

Refining the flow

For this project, we were given two personas as our target audience. As a peer economy app, goals of both stakeholders had to be satisfied. Based on our scenarios, we refined how the app's system would work from each stakeholder's perspective before designing the screens.

Madeline extends her availability

Madeline is at work and her boss asks her to stay longer to finish a project. Madeline launches her app and simply pulls the corresponding time slot down to extend her availability.

Rebecca needs parking tonight

Rebecca is planning to have dinner with her friends at Union Grill tonight. While she’s having lunch at work, she decides to schedule her parking early so she won’t have to waste time later looking for a spot. She opens Parkit and taps one-time parking.

Rebecca searches on Parkit

She first types her destination, Union Grill, and roughly plans for 2 hours for dinner. She taps Find Parking.

Rebecca makes a reservation

Rebecca uses force touch on one of the auto-accept spots nearby Union Grill and is prompted with the total amount she will be charged.

What worked

I think the greatest strength of this project is ease of use. When we pitched this to the class, many people responded that it seemed very easy to use and they were able to follow the work flow well. For this project, we were successful in keeping the scope narrow and communicating the essential concept of our design.

What could have been better

Our prototype ended up having more screens for the commuter and only one for the driveway owner. This resulted from the simplicity of Madeline's scenario but there is definitely room for presenting seller's benefit from using the application.