National Park Service of Boston
Provide a way for groups of people to coordinate a tour of their choosing
Axure, Sketch, InVision, Miro, Trello, Otter
The Boston National Historical Park is an association of sites that showcase Boston's role in the American Revolution. The sites are connected by the 2.5-mile-long Freedom Trail, a walking tour of downtown Boston. More than 3 million visitors walk the Freedom Trail each year.
The National Park Service of Boston currently has a native mobile app that provides information about the historical sites, available tours, and maps of the park areas, but it does not provide a way for groups of people to plan a visit to the Freedom Trail, especially if those groups only want to visit certain locations, or need to coordinate meeting times amongst each other.
Over the course of two weeks, our team was tasked with adding a conceptual feature to the Boston National Park Service iOS mobile application that allows more flexibility for groups who wanted to explore the Freedom Trail.
Working as part of a four-person team, my role was first and foremost to facilitate time management and keep our assets and deliverables organized. I also mapped out the existing site’s information architecture, and then altered and polished that architecture to incorporate the features we were building. Lastly, I created a clickable prototype from the completed visual designs.
Users want a way to easily book tours with specific specifications, such as tour type, time, length, group size, and cost in advance or same day for one or more people.
Over the first several days of the project, the researchers looked into the direct (and indirect) competitors. and discovered that since the NPS Boston app does not have any tours that require payment, it is not in direct competition with anyone. There are similar services, such as an official freedom trail tour, however, these cost money and offer more in-depth information and comprehensive audio tours than the NPS Boston app.
We also looked into the mobile booking aspects for Expedia, Go City Card, GPSmyCity, and AirBnB, in order to garner ideas about the ways people book things to do online.
Our user research consisted of four steps:
In order to determine individuals to include within our user research, we created a preliminary screener survey to find individuals that had formerly organized group trips, as this was our target audience for the new feature within the application. After going through ten responses, we selected six users to connect with and interview.
We were able to gather some very valuable feedback which we then analysed through affinity mapping. The main points that we needed to address within our design were:
Our findings also revealed some pain points:
What I would like to know about a specific tour would be the timeline of the tour with the costs of the tour... I don't want to pay an arm and a leg, especially because I may or may not like it.- Research Participant
From our findings, we created the proto-persona of Dan. Doing so allowed us to keep the user at the center of the design process, ensuring we met his goals. We created a scenario in order to frame the problem and focus on the user needs as we moved forward.
Conducting three rounds of design workshops, we explored some ideas for the scenarios to refine what should be included in our MVP. This also helped us visualize the navigation and elements in the existing interface that were not working and develop our new information architecture.
From the design workshops, we created a user flow. We developed this into a paper prototype and conduct usability tests. We discovered that some of our initial language choices were confusing, and we were able to iterate and re-test.
We then developed a mid-fidelity digital prototype, conducting further usability tests and refining the design before moving it into a high-fidelity mockup.
Usability testing on the high-fidelity mockup showed that our initial color choices on the calendar where users choose the date they want to take a tour were confusing. Altering these colors made it more clear to users which dates were available. We also adjusted the information architecture to make the ability to save custom tours more easily accessible and understandable.
The new design of the app provides users with the ability to:
The redesigned National Park Service app was received very positively by users. Users stated the app was not only simple and easy to navigate, but helped them feel more confident in being able to plan an outing with others.
Moving forward, we can envision future iterations of the National Park Service app including: