Park Helper

Mobile app to connect property owners and people looking for parking spots

/Mobile App    /Peer Economy    /UX Design    /UI Design


As a result of the meteoric adoption of smartphones, peer economy has seen rapid rise in recent years. The intelligent computing device collects personal, social and contextual information and enables two different user roles to provide just-in-time services to each other. For this project, based on two given personas, our team was challenged to utilize the features of smartphones to create a novel mobile app, which will connects property owners and drivers and generate new values to the two peers.

How can we utilize smartphone features to connect property owners and drivers and generate new values to them?

Date Oct - Nov 2016, 4 weeks

Team Marc Estruch Tena, Justin Fanzo, Angel Yu

Course CMU 05-651 Interaction Design Fundamentals

Instructor Karen Berntsen

Design Outcome

Based on the insights and unconvered needs identified from research, our team created ParkHelper, a mobile app that provides long-term and low-cost parking spots to drivers by asking them to do daily little favors to the property owners. In this way, our mobile app delivers monetary value to drivers and help value to property owners.

Intuitive Booking Process


Drivers provide little help to exchange low-cost parking space

The location sensor will remind the driver to do the little favour when it detects the driver arrives at the parking space.

The property owner will receive message notification when the driver complete the daily task.

Design Process

/ Persona & Ecosystem collection

Know who we're designing for and know what we don't know yet

By analyzing the two given personas and using ecosystem collection, we first identified the users’ goals and synthesized what we already know, like actors, props, activities, place/context, trends, and desired outcomes. This step aided us in planning effective guerilla research.

Rebecca Newman

NICU nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital at Portland

She has a shift that rotates every four months: morning shift, evening shift, and overnight shift.

Life goals: Rebecca wants to someday get married and have kids, making her mom happy. She also wants to move up in the hospital, and someday become a senior administrator.

End goals: Rebecca wants safe, cheap, close parking when working the morning and evening shift.

Experience goals: Rebecca relies on her smartphone to keep her connected to the world outside the hospital.

Property Owner
Madeline Baudin

Administrative coordinator for the Clackamas County School District at Portland

She wants to stay in her neighborhood, but she worries if she will be able to afford it.

Life goals: Madeline wants to retire from work and spend more and more time with her grandkids. She’d like to split her time between living in Portland and living at her daughter’s house.

End goals: Madeline wants to find a new way to supplement her income so she can indulge in good food and help her daughter.

Experience goals: Madeline loves her smartphone and she loves getting text messages. She mostly uses email, messaging, and facebook, but she is not afraid to try new applications.

Desired outcomes

- Property owners will make money
- Drivers will find parking easier and save money
- Trust will be build between drivers and property owners
- Drivers getting extra service other than parking spot while parking
- Increase trust in sharing economy
- Get guidance of area if drivers are unfamiliar with the place

/ Guerrila research

What do people care about when lending property to strangers or using a stranger's parking space?

Based on the ecosystem collection, we found that we need first-hand information about how people feels and needs to peer-to-peer parking service. We then conducted 12 interviews in Shadyside and Oakland area of Pittsburgh, 5 with property owners and 7 with drivers who look for parking spots. For property owners, we asked their acceptance and concersn about lending their parking space to strangers; their opinions of getting extra income by lending personal space out. For drivers, we asked them their bad experience when looking for parking space; their acceptance and concerns about using non-traditional parking space; their preference when choosing a parking space.


My top concerns about parking in general are cost, distance, and safety.

Once I parked in an illegal spot and got towed. Parking space is limited in big cities.

It could be a bit insecure to get into a stranger's closed space, especially for female.

The service should be reliable and trustworthy, creating a network with people who will be more likely to use your spot.

Property Owners

I'd love to rent only if it does not interfere my parking time. Time is hard to control.

I will be more wiling to lend out if I know the person.

There's personal stuff in my parking lot. Strangers may get information of the house.

It's smart to have someone in the driveway if people are in vacation. There's value in having the illusion of someone coming and going. It's not about the money. It's about security.

We also looked into three other similar peer-to-peer services(Airbnb, Uber, and VRBO) to see how they ease users' worries when using stranger's service.

Identity Check

Participants can scan a government ID and connect other online profiles to their account.

Rating System

Participants can get to know the other parties through detailed profiles and confirmed reviews.

Community Building

Participants are connected through online or offline community to gain sense of belonging and trust.

/ Synthesis

6 Key insights

Based on our findings through interview and secondary research, we gained 6 key insights:

- Users need the other party’s information be checked to build up trust. 

- Easy communication is needed in using peer-to-peer parking service. Users hope the communication cost is as little as possible.

- Property owners are more open to lend parking space in long-term parking. Because long-term parking is less influenced by schedule changing and therefore causes less parking time confliction.

- Driveways renting is prefereed by both drivers and property owners over garage renting. They want to save the trouble of exchanging keys and ensure personal or property security and privacy.

- Parking fee is a nice-to-have income source for property owners, but is a priority consideration for drivers. Drivers hope the parking cost could be as little as possible, while property owners are less sensitive towards ths issue.

- Property owners need their house to be checked when they’re absent to get reassured. This creates sense of security for property owners.

Narrow down to long-term, driveway parking

Based on these insights, our team decided to focus only on weekly or long-term parking, which is 7 days or longer, and driveway parking. We hoped to build a service to enable drivers to provide extra help (like house check) to property owners in need in exchange for low-cost parking space. Also, our service needs to create feeling of trust and security to get both parties reassured.

Enable drivers to exchange low-cost parking through providing a little help

/ Scenarios & Storyboards

How might we design to enable drivers to exchange help for cheap parking in an effortless way?

Based on the narrowed down design space, we generated exploratory scenarios that describe how the app might deliver value to the two parties. From the scenarios, we selected three that we feel are most valuable to further create storyboards, including smoothing the booking process, trust building, and relationship building.

After the first round of ideation, we got feedback from the instructor and classmates that we need to focus more on the mutual relationship - how the parker provide caregiving and how the property owners provide price discount in return - which makes app truly unique and innovative. We then further conducted second round of brainstroming and creating storyboards. Finally, our team settled down with the idea of designing a weekly-based parking service that requires drivers to complete simple daily task to exchange cheap parking spots.

Utilize the location sensor within smartphones

Location-sensing reminder. The app senses whereabouts of the driver and automatically reminds him or her to notify the property owners about the daily task after parking.

In order to make the process as seamless and smooth as possible, we utilized the location sensor capability of smartphones and carefully decided to include the following features:

Intuitive Design. The onboarding process for both parties and the booking process for drivers must be intuitive so that non-expert mobile users could easily use the app.

Presetted simple daily task. The task that a driver needs to complete everyday must be presetted to make sure they are easy ones that can be done in a minute or so, such as checking mailbox, checking front door, etc.

Customized task log. Property owners can select from a list of the presetted tasks based on their needs.

Request extra help and provide discount. Property owners can add extra services that drivers can do for extra discount. Such tasks are voluntary, and the amount of discount is set by the property owner.

Information sharing with families. Property owners could share notifications from ParkHelper with any parties who may care.

/ Information flow map & Navigation map

Based on the key features we defined, we then came up with two diagrams: information flow map and navigation map. From the information map, we figured out that most of the information for both parties are interlinked, so we decided that we need only one mobile app but display two different sets of user interfaces to drivers and property owners based on the logging account.

Information Flow Map

Navigation Map

/ Prototype & Iterations

First Round

Based on the navigation map, we started the first round of hi-fi prototype, but the feedback we got showing that the relationship between the chores and the parking, the parker and the homeowner was too hidden in the screens. So I created the second version of the hi-fi prototype.

Second Round

In this round, I revamped the daily task page to emphasize the help value generated to property owners by using icons and brighter colors. Also, I left more white space for the page to make the information more readable. I made another page to show how the property owner can customize the daily task list, which was not shown in the previous prototype. I also redesigned other screens to make the booking process more effortless by seperating the task into multiple steps and pages.

Initial version of daily task viewing

Iterated version of daily task reviewing and setting. Icons and brighter colors were used to emphasize the content

Final Screens

Here’s the final screen design for ParkHelper, a mobile app that provides low-cost parking spots to drivers by asking them to do a daily little favor to the property owners.

Streamlined Booking Process

Input location

Input time

Browse available spots based on location

browse all available spots

View information of the parking spot

View required daily task and request parking

Confirm request

Setting and Checking Daily Task

The property owner customizes the daily tasks by selecting from a preset list and checks whether the task has been completed by the driver.

Complete Daily Task with Reminder
Share Account with Families and Friends

Let your close ones know what’s going well and what’s going wrong. Let them be reassured and help you handle emergencies!

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