a design research endeavor

Fall 2016

CampusParc, The Ohio State University's official parking partner, joined forces with the Department of Design's senior Visual Communication Design class during the Fall 2016 semester. The project was open ended, and we were told to find a problem and solve it. Working on a team of three my group developed and created an evaluative and generative tool called FutureParc.

INTRODUCTION
PROBLEM

Simply from personal experiences we knew that CampusParc was not well-liked; by the general public, but especially not by students. With a quick Google search we learned just how poorly CampusParc was thought about – 1 star on Yelp. 

From a packet of statistical information given to us by CampusParc we learned that about 1/3 of their customers were students. This number, plus the clear need for change, helped us focus in on students as our target user. 

Interviews and surveys helped us to develop our problem statement: Students find it very difficult to park on campus and do not think it’s worth their money, though they do not see any other options.

preliminary sketching of what would eventually be called FutureParc

 

slide from "Discovery Phase" presentation to CampusParc executives

DESIGN INTENT

Once we defined our problem we moved into creating our Design Intent. Words chosen to represent the ideal company in the eyes of a student were sorted into ‘buckets’ based upon similar meanings. Overarching, representative words and companies, that students value, were chosen and became bench markers for the duration of the project.

 

An Opportunity Map was also created to show where CampusParc currently resides among other companies students value and where it could move.

 

Finally, we developed a Student Journey, documenting our users' path while parking with CampusParc, including encountered pain points along the way. 

This work allowed us to develop our Design Intent: “By repositioning CampusParc as a business that focuses on service and creating an engaging physical space, we hope to increase the value held in parking with CampusParc.”

design research methods used to develop our Design Intent

a fraction of ideas that we brainstormed to create value within the physical space

DESIGN DEVELOPMENT

Following the direction of our Design Intent we brainstormed as many ideas as we could think of that would increase the value of the physical parking lot for students. We began sketching for a concept that we developed and were excited to present it to the CampusParc executives. 

From the client we heard that our concept was too specific. We were not thinking about all the different types of parking lots that CampusParc manages; all of their sizes, uses, locations, budgets, and timeframes of existence. Our solution needed to be more flexible.

sketches for the first concept we presented to CampusParc

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After receiving feedback from the client that our proposed solution was too specific, we realized that we were tackling this problem from the wrong angle. Their feedback inspired us to use our experience in generative design to develop a tool that CampusParc could use to evaluate the status of their parking lots and brainstorm ideas to improve them.

sketches for what would become FutureParc

final concept

FINAL CONCEPT
PART 1: EVALUATIVE

Part 1 of the final solution is used to evaluate the current state of the parking lots. This evaluative framework helps itemize what is good or bad about each parking lot weighing the presence of 4 goals (ensures safety, easy to use, well branded, and encourages community) within the 7 most important elements in a parking lot as determined by our team. CampusParc employees would use this checklist onsite prior to Part 2.

Part 2 of the final solution is used to document the current state of the parking lot and then generate new, creative ideas on how to improve it to create value for users, especially students. Using the points system, participants can see where they are lacking in a particular lot. Then, with the inspiration cards provided, new ideas can be generated.

This game-like generative design activity can be used for parking lots that already exist, future parking lots,

or even parking garages.

PART 2: GENERATIVE
CONCLUSION

What started as a project that none of us really felt confident in, turned out to be one of the most exciting projects I've ever worked on. In the end, we developed the right solution, something that CampusParc can actually use.

I'm proud of my team for pushing through and never giving up on a project that sometimes felt like we would never get it right.

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