Products UX & UI, Research & Analysis



As the number of cars and drivers increase, the demand for parking also becomes a big problem. Public parking is now harder to find and parking structures cost more than ever to build. At impacted areas, users may not know where to park, when to park and how long they can park there. Smartspot is a phone and car digital application that aims to solve these problems.



• Car owners

• Drivers

• City parking management

• Local business & residents



• City government

• Public parking management

• Parking technology vendors

• Civil engineers & city planners

• Mapping app vendors



• Survey of  42 people

 6 personas interview

 2  persona journey maps






• 4 Stakeholder interviews:

  • Parking Architecture Designer
  • SFMTA Business Analyst
  • Parking Technology Vendor
  • SFMTA project manager

• Analyzed pilot test & existing solutions


To understand more about the problems, I created a survey on public parking with 42 participants between the ages of 18 to 55. Then I narrowed down these participants to focus personas for interviews and journey maps. In addition, I also reached out to stakeholders whom work in the parking management industry to learn about their perspective and challenges.


Common Parking Problems

• Can’t find parking or spending lots of time looking for parking

• Confusion of signage

• Meter does not take card

• Time tracking

• Can’t keep up with surge pricing

Stakeholder Challenges

• Parking is expensive to build (10k–40K/spot)

• Lack of clear and visible street sign

• No efficient method for parking enforcement

• Illegal & unsafe using phone while driving

• Parking space is not an address

Existing Solution Analysis

Following my interview process, I researched existing parking applications that are on mobile and web platforms. Each of them focuses on different aspects of parking, but there is no end to end experience. 


What if every parking has an address with  assigned sensor?

Users can see the availability of parking around them and be directed to a specific parking spot by their navigation app when approaching their destination. Now let’s reimagine a parking experience where the search, management, payment, and time for parking is simplified.

Concept Validation

Finding parking for users and direct them to a specific spot:

For the first concept, I focused on the key features of how the information is delivered to the users while they are driving. While the persona is driving I direct them with voice navigation and paper screens. I observe their behaviors and interview them after about the overall experience. Then I revised the ow based on the users feedback and retested interaction.

Visual design and information: 

During the second test, I asked for feedback on visual design from the users. I let new personas look at the main screen and asked them what information did they get from the visual design (icons, colors). Based on the feedback, I learned to arrange information clearer, especially the indication of current location and availability of parking.

The Final Design

The Story

Stephen is meeting up with Vy, at Dolores Park, San Francisco. He uses Smartspot app to navigate and manage his parking. The app automatically directs Stephen to a specific parking spot that is close to his destination and keeps track of the time for him. Smartspot also helps Stephen to reserve parking ahead for a Facebook birthday event next Friday and get help from other users around him.


Special thanks to advisors and participants:

David Rosales, SFMTA Business Analyst

Seth Goodman, Chicago Parking Architecture Designer

Alexiy E. Sukhenko, SFMTA Principal Administrative Analyst

Enes Ceric, Manager at IPS (A Smart Parking Technology Vendor)

Orralyn Vithyavuthi, Intel Security Mobile Designer

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