My experience as a summer intern at ParkingBee. May 2016 — Aug 2016.
Push a button, find a spot. Relevant, affordable, and safe parking at your fingertips. Avoid the stressful search of parking, with drivers behind you breathing down your back. Revamp the chore that drivers dread the most — parking. The only thing between you and arriving at your destination.
Tapping into the spirit of community, the platform empowers both sides of the sharing economy of parking. On the driver side, the mobile apps convey reliability by clearly communicating information and directions. On the host side, brand materials build rapport and trust by using candid, personable copy as well as using simple breakdowns of process and payment.
Adobe Photoshop, HTML+CSS, pen/paper and whiteboard, and lots of Slack
ParkingBee is an app that offers a peer-to-peer marketplace for parking that enables members to list or rent parking. Beyond convenience, the primary value proposition is the opportunity for cheaper prices and a deep integration within the local community. For example, students and small businesses can both use the service to make extra money when they’re traveling or closed. On the flip end, members can avoid surge pricing strategies that many parking garages employ.
I joined ParkingBee after chatting with the founders through the Spring. The basic outline existed, but I was responsible for creating a starting point for the brand and carrying that through the website. Parallel to my work, the developers were still working on essential processes, so we were both iterating as quickly as possible with the goal of a solid MVP by the end of the summer.
As such, the three primary objectives for me are:
- logo, colors, and typefaces;
- drafting a brand and style guide;
- designing and developing the entire website;
The first thing I do when I start designing an app is jot down the features and constraints as described by the client, and using these features I develop the basic user flow, which is going to describe navigation and information. This also ensures that we’re on the same page, because we can both agree on something concrete.
After taking a look at other apps in the market, such as SwagBucks, I took a step back to think of how users travel from initially browsing a product to sharing it on social media with friends.
Dig into your wallet and pay excessive parking rates that are conveniently located, or settle for cheaper parking a trek away? It’s an unfortunate choice that all drivers confront everyday.
To help drivers find a middle ground in terms of parking, ParkingBee built a community of locals with spare driveways, garages spaces, and lots to share with incoming drivers. Locals are rewarded for offering unused space, while drivers are presented with a wider variety of parking options and prices. No longer are drivers locked into the binary choice of premium or frugal, but can opt for parking that is both fairly convenient and value priced.
Creating a new marketplace is no easy task. Our market and user research concretely proved that there was a need, but we still needed to connect a community. With minimal supply and demand, the secret ingredient is simple: clear communication on both sides of the market with a generous pinch of in-person onboarding and guidance.
The primary user flows considerations were:
- For drivers, could be looking up parking for a movie theater ahead of time or pulling the app up as they approached. Nonetheless, quick and readable at-a-glance information is essential to finding a parking option within constraints.
- For hosts, always conveying value is key to maintaining satisfaction and engagement. The worst case scenario is when a host doesn’t clearly understand what they get out of using Parking Bee.
We took careful considerations building the host app to show earnings and next steps. Brand communication always added context, such as using the money earned through hosting towards a vacation or house project. By offering a concrete goal or image, hosts better comprehend value and have a self-incentivized reward to look forwards to.
How we Built it
As a product of constant conversation and feedback between locals interested in offering spare parking and Told, we built a platform geared to provide satisfaction to users.
The web app helps users achieve 3 important tasks: learn the value and opportunity of ParkingBee, view parking spaces and potential earnings, and finally pay for and manage their parking spaces. ParkingBee’s marketing is hyperlocal, but brand messaging remains scalable. A toolkit of brand materials including flyers, postcards, stickers, and social media graphics enable marketing materials to be both on brand and locally relevant.
The mobile experiences on iOS and Android are more focused than on the web, and demand a user interface and experience that is capable of providing the correct information swiftly, rather than the higher level browsing users might associate with desktop use.
The tenets of our brand are encapsulated in all assets, from typography to photography. We use photos to tell local stories as part of the day to day lives of our community members. Our photographers only rely on natural lighting to capture candid moments to display the peace of mind that our users are able to maintain without the stress of parking.