Roles: UX/Interaction/Interface Designer, User Researcher
Tools: Adobe XD, Invision
ZooPlanner is an application that helps families plan and catalogue their experience at the zoo.
Identifying current problems
The goal was to understand the current flow and pain points of a person planning a trip to the zoo and how they decide what to do there, to design a solution that would better their experience.
I put myself in the shoes of the user and planned a trip to the zoo to understand the process. Everything from searching up which zoo to go to on different websites, to getting inside the zoo and figuring out what to do.
At the zoo, I interviewed 3 families at the zoo (1 from Indonesia, 1 from Washington state, and 1 that was local), a few volunteer workers there, and I also interviewed 4 of my friends who have been to the zoo before to understand the current zoo experience and how they plan their trips.
Key findings and observations
1. Proximity is not a problem.
2. Lots of kids–opportunity for a rich, educational experience.
3. People don't plan what they are going to see at the zoo before they get there, but the zoo maps are overwhelming.
4. There's not one centralized resource to plan out the logistics of a zoo trip.
Narrowing the problem space
There are many kinds of people who frequent the zoo-- parents, children, teachers, students, etc. I chose to design for parents because most of the people I observed at the zoo were groups of families-- mainly adults taking their kids out for a fun and educational experience.
Defining the screens and flows
I broke my design down into 3 parts: planning before the zoo, navigating the zoo, and collecting experiences.
Selecting a zoo
There are 2 categories that represent the two main types of zoo-goers: people who want to take a local day trip to the closest zoo, and people who are willing to travel the distance to see the best zoos.
This page has a quick overview of what the zoo has to offer. The content of the page is based on what people look for when selecting a zoo.
This home tab allows you to get quick info about the zoo, buy and store your tickets in 1 place, recommend what you should and shouldn't pack, and remember your parking spot--all in one spot.
The user profile keeps track of your zoo and badge history. After getting user feedback, I found it was unnecessary to dedicate a whole navigation tab to a profile, so I moved it to the home screen.
Zoo paper maps are overwhelming and dense with information. This is a way for zoo-goers to get an idea of where to start. Machine learning can be utilized to generate better recommendations after the user has started going to more locations.
Search what's at the zoo
This list view allows the user to easily consume information through the separation of categories. This lets them find what they are looking for quicker. They can read reviews, and select which ones they want displayed on the map.
Map with selections
Once you have made your selections, the original recommendations turns into your selections instead. Markers are also placed on the map of where your selections are-- it's a customized zoo map. Clicking on a selection will allow you to route there, making navigating through the zoo easier.
I created a way to collect experiences through collecting badges for each location you visit. This gamifies the zoo experience and is fun to do as a family. It also encourages the zoo-goer to see more because they get to collect more. You attain a badge by checking into the location when you're there on the map.
Clicking on a badge you have
This screen lets you learn more about the badge you received and gives you facts. This creates an educational component that works well with families and school kids, which are the main groups of people I've observed at the zoo.
Clicking on a badge you don't have
If you don't have the badge, you can add the location to your map.
Takeaways and future considerations
If possible, try to experience it first hand
It was immensely helpful to go through the current process of planning a zoo trip on my own. This allowed me to not only understand the current pain points, but also gave me the ability to go to the zoo and talk to people first-hand about their experiences. I was able to dispel a few incorrect assumptions through this.
In the future
I want to figure out how to make this app more accessible. For those who are blind or have a visual disability, I could incorporate an audio assistant to read out facts, which would create a more immersive experience in general, as the user doesn't have to stare at their phone for long periods of time. Adding a map feature to show the best path for wheelchair users or other people who may have difficulty walking steep or uneven paths could benefit many. From user testing, I found that users want the ability to hide "popular attractions/your selections" so that the map has more visibility and improves the map viewing experience. My design is also based on the assumption that everyone has access to the internet, but having access to a reliable network is not always the case. A solution might be to locally store map data on the device as soon as you select the zoo, or create a "lite" version of the application.