How we helped people avoid parking tickets and find open spots — Design Case study

Overview

At SpotAngels, we are building a community-based app which helps you find open spots and avoid parking tickets.

The problem

When we talk to users, there are two recurring problems:

  • They often have parking tickets
  • It’s hard to find an open parking spot

How can we help users avoid parking tickets and find open spots?

Metrics we want to increase with this project

↗ Activation
↗ % users selecting “Always” for the Location Permission
↗ Number of open spots

Solution

  1. Parking detection
    The primary solution is to detect when a user finds a spot and when she leaves her spot.
    → If we know when she finds a spot, we can notify her when it’s time to leave her car.
    → If we know when she leaves a spot, we can alert other users where there is an open spot.
  2. Crowdsourcing
    To improve the number of open spots displayed in the app, we can also ask users after they parked how crowded is the street.

Design Challenges

  1. Ask for touchy permissions
    To be able to detect when and where a user parks and leaves, we always need access to her location and to her motion & Fitness sensor.
    We also need her permission to send push notifications.
  2. Let users edit their car location
    Sometimes the GPS location is wrong. In that case, we could send a wrong parking notification and display a wrong open spot.
    We have to let the user correct manually her position.
  3. Ask users for spot availability on streets
    The more users we have, the more open spots we detect. We also are a community-based app, so the community can tell us when a street is full or empty.

Onboarding — Ask for touchy permissions

To be able to detect when a user parks or leave, we need to:

  • Always have access to the user location — On iOS, if a user gives the ‘While using the app’ location, we can’t detect any park.
    The location helps us to know where the user is.
  • Always allow Motion & Fitness sensor
    The sensor helps us know when the user drives or walk and detect when she is in her car.
  • Push Notifications
    Notifications are useful to alert a user when it’s time to leave to avoid tickets.

The onboarding checklist

Ask for permissions

Classic prompt

Fake prompt

Set/Unset

Second chance

The onboarding is done

Let users edit their car location

Ask users for spot availability on streets

Impact

The global experience allowed us to push our activation up to 54%.

Project Learnings

Base yourself on user needs, not assumptions
We do research, analyze data, we talk to users and prove our assumptions. We have empathy for users and remember that what they ask for isn’t always what they need.

Unlisted

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I am a Product Designer based in San Francisco. Currently, I design at SpotAngels.

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Florent Lenormand

Florent Lenormand

I am a Product Designer based in San Francisco. Currently, I design at SpotAngels.