The Culver City digital signage revamp is an easy to use sign made from an e-ink display that shows only relevant information when needed instead of weighing down the information all at once on a user. This allows the user to quickly and safely park instead of sitting in the street trying to decipher the signage.
My role was focused on the end-to-end experience. I worked with a user researcher to create this final product. My major work was design led with combined efforts helping my researcher in the field.
How might we speed up the parking process in Culver City for people looking to park for only a couple hours?
Culver City is haunted by these long, hard to understand signs. They can be convoluted, contradictory, and confusing for the user. We found that cars were even parking at these streets signs to try to better understand if they could in fact park there.
Car parked trying to understand signage
The signage of your nightmares located within Culver City
Two of the major problems were discovered within Downtown Culver City for street parking:
Safety – users were parking in the middle of the road to try to understand the signage
Comprehension – users were struggling to understand the wording/hierarchy of the signage
After timing users we found that it took users more than 2+ minutes for users to read through the signage, and they still weren’t confident if they could park there.
“Every time I leave my apartment there’s people taking photos of the signs for Instagram becauseit looks crazy.”
“Sometimes you have to read through 10 signs and you still aren’t sure if you can park there.”
Users had a clear issues within the Culver City area towards the signage. We learned some valuable insights about what a common user may go through and ideated on how we might solve this problem through simplification.
Signage found locally that was being referenced
We looked at Nikki Sylianteng’s sign which allow the user to see the most relevant information at a moment’s glance but leave the full schedule available for anyone. However, this still took the user too long to decipher.
Signage from Nikki Sylianteng
We created personas to represent our interviewees who face a similar problems. This gave us a clear picture of the user’s expectations and how they would like to use a product.
"I love Culver City, but I still don't understand the signs and I've lived here for over a year"
"I considered living in Culver City, but the streets signs remind me why I love Redondo"
"I barely understand the roads I'm driving let alone having to figure out the parking signs"
We then moved on to brainstorming to figure out what was the most important pieces to include in signage “revamp” The most interesting ideas that we wanted to pursue being:
To add a point of realism we wanted begin with a paper prototype to simulate the same experience as a regular street sign. It slid through a slit in a piece of paper insuring that only the important time blocks were shown.
Our first iteration prototype was based on all the user feedback we received from our interviews. We wanted to test 3 main categories:
Hierarchy (Primary Information)
Colors (Secondary Information)
Icons (Secondary Information)
Shadae Kawaguchi and Emily Hedrick running comprehension tests of the old signage.
Testing the three categories with the digital signage experience
· The upcoming time block was not clear
· We needed to make our prototype more dynamic
· We could use our real estate more effectively if we made it horizontal
Our ideation for a more user-centered design quickly changed as we reviewed our problems from our first run-through of testing. We created a sign that was more dynamic and allowed the user to quickly understand the information presented to them.
Some of the issues we discovered after testing with this prototype were:
· It was too cluttered/could be simplified more
· There was still wasn’t a solid sense of hierarchy
· The counter bar wasn’t the right direction
Now, where did we go from there? Well, we decided to flesh out our prototype even more and add micro-interactions, change in color, and slight changes in hierarchy. Below is the final prototype:
The next question was, how can we help Culver City to keep gain revenue from the digitalized street signs to offset the money lost from parking tickets?
We approached this by looking into allowing advertising to be shown during "no park" times. This allows for a simple way-finding tool, promotional spotlight, and ultimately revenue made back from the digital parking sign costs/parking ticket revenue lost.
A new take on #311 app. #311 is provides immediate access to information and more than 1,500 non-emergency city service.
Our addition to application simplifies the experience and allows you to tag broken signs, meters, etc. For our specific signage it will allow a user to set an alert on their phone of when they will need to move their car, see where they are parked with the help of a google maps UI, report broken signs, and more.
I firmly believe this is a powerful and thoughtful redesign. All of the steps included tons of user research to make sure we were still approaching everything in the right direction. Our main concern throughout this was our user.