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Brake

Brake is a parking app that allows users to park for street-side parking by the minute without worrying about over/underpaying the meter. Through a simple scan-in system, Brake can also map out the parking availability in a specified region and help drivers locate an open stall before arrival. Other features include directions to the stall and digital payment.

Role
Timeline
UX/UI Team Lead
Sept 2021 – Nov 2021
Tools
Teammates
Figma, Qualtrics
Elliot Starkman
Sonan Zhang
Grace Ann Stenger

The Problem

Parking is stressful. In addition to their face-paced lives, people simply do not have the extra headspace to worry about where and for how long they park. Moreover, the time and resources wasted over parking add up to $72.7 billion
in America each year.  

 

Challenge

Create an efficiency-focused app experience that facilitates a seamless parking experience for busy drivers to find vacancy, complete their tasks, and pay, all while saving them time, money, and stress.
Brake combines multiple parking features in one simple and efficient user flow. It helps drivers find available street-side parking and provides directions to the stall. Most importantly, it allows drivers to pay by the minute, alleviating the stress of monitoring time left on the meter. It also allows users to pay by phone for an easy transaction process, creating a stress-free parking experience. 

Solution

Product Overview

Get to know Brake
Users are greeted by Brake's lively splash screen before cruising through a brief interactive introduction to Brake's features and main value proposition.
 
Locate available stalls
Users can view parking availability in as street zones to get a sense of which areas have open street-side parking. In street view, drivers can select a specific stall for road directions or to directly scan in once they arrive.
 
Check in to a stall upon arrival
Brake's efficient check-in process is easy to complete. Drivers simply scan the code on the meter or enter the meter number to claim their stall and start the timer.
 
Check out and pay by phone
If users forget where they parked, they can reference Brake's built-in map to find their car. When ready to leave, users can stop the timer, double-check their receipt and payment method, then pay directly from their phones.
 
Additional pages
Aside from the primary parking flow, Brake also provides a digital wallet of registered cards and their respective payment histories, a pricing page that explains the app's flexed curve rate, as well as a "Frequently Asked Questions" archive.
 

Design Process

User Research

Interviews were conducted among 6 individuals in varying age groups and occupations in order to understand our audience and their motivations. Upon gathering insight, I grouped the main pain points of the interviewees into the categories shown below.

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Location

 

Drivers spent so much time circling around the blocks looking or waiting for a spot to open up. This becomes mentally and physically exhausting.

Time

 

Time either goes by too fast or too slow. People interrupt their day to add time into the meter or end up leaving earlier than they expected.

Money

 

Since it can be difficult to estimate how long they will be parked, drivers often end up overpaying or risk getting towed or fined for overstaying their meter.

Emotion

 

Whether it's lack of vacancy, time crunches, overpayments, or the fear of a ticket, parking can be a majorly stress -inducing experience. 

In order to better empathize with drivers who had different motivations, we created three user personas to help guide our design-thinking.Our target customers live different lives but generally share something in common, they are go-getters who commute and have an adequate level of familiarity with basic navigation apps.

User Personas
 

Lauren Moore
Lauren Moore

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Jeff Liu
Jeff Liu

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Jessica Marrow
Jessica Marrow

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Lauren Moore
Lauren Moore

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From here, my team got to work putting down ideas of our personas' specific needs from Brake. We brainstormed realistic user stories, some taken directly from our first user interviews, and grouped them into 5 features and epics to get a clearer view of what Brake's parking experience should consist of. We prioritized certain features over others as some stories were more garnered toward a secondary persona. From there, we combined 5 features into1 simple flow.

Ideation
 

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Competitive
Analysis

After ideating features to target the main pain points, we conducted market research to see how Brake's features would measure up against other parking apps available in the Los Angeles area.

Information
Architecture

Before designing any wireframes, I wanted to quickly organize how features and pages would be integrate in the app. Laying out the user flow for each page helped me better understand how users would
interact with Brake while parking as well as the order of importance of each cascading page.

Next, we created a series of low and mid fidelity wireframes to map out the user flow and feature interaction to create our initial tangible and testable prototype.

Between the two sets of wireframes, we sent out a usability Qualtrics survey to resolve any major issues and see whether we were on the right track.

Indeed, there were a few immediate changes:

❌ The color codes were difficult to remember.

✅ We reverted to familiar gray defaults and designated orange as the active.

 

❌ The stall-by-stall parking was much easier to understand compared to zones.

✅ We moved forward with the direct stall approach.

❌ Users weren't sure when they would pay. They preferred to do it immediately.

✅ We added the payment button directly after the trip summary.

Wireframes

For finishing touches, I made some updates to a few features that could've been designed to be less redundant.

Iterations

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To maintain consistency of style across the app, I created a design system.
We chose orange as our primary color because it conveys a sense of excitement and energy that would mirror the feeling of getting out of the car at the final destination without a worry about parking. In addition, we chose a rounded sans-serif typeface to not only encourage a friendly experience, but more importantly to make sure legibility is clear for our users, who are drivers in a potentially moving vehicle.

Design System

As for future iterations of Brake, there is potential to expand convenience and usability into multiple directions. Here, we were thinking of ways to further reduce parking stress as well as serve a secondary user audience in delivery services.

Future

Possibilities

Reservations

 

Allow users to book spots in advance to reduce stress from not being able to find a spot. If they don't arrive within a certain time frame, the stall becomes available again.

Fare Split

 

Provide options to split parking fares with friends both within and off the app so that a carpool driver does not have to pay the entire fee alone.

Deliveries

 

Create a special partnership with delivery services like UberEats and DoorDash so that their delivery drivers don't have to spend money to earn money when waiting for food to be ready.

Conclusion

Takeaways

Working on this project granted me active experience in applying design thinking processes and techniques from start to finish. This provided a comprehensive understanding regarding user experiences and the importance of research and testing when developing feature functionality.

 

Additionally, I was able to dive into market research and think about real logistics, such as pricing and profit margins for the team. 

Next Steps

For future iterations of this project, I would conduct another usability test with the most recent prototype to receive user feedback. This would allow me to further improve the functionality of existing features and ideate new ones. 

Moreover, I would begin thinking about expanding certain functionalities within the main user flow to include fare-splits or stall reservations.