Pike Place Market App Proposal
A case study and prototype for a mobile wayfinding app for Seattle's legendary Pike Place Market featuring augmented reality.
The Pike Place Market Foundation, Seattle, WA
The Pike Place Market is one of the oldest public markets in the United States, featuring hundreds of businesses, restaurants, craft-persons and artists. It is visited by millions of people and produces millions of dollars in revenue each year.
The Pike Place Market is one of Seattle’s greatest attractions, beloved by tourists and locals alike. There is much to explore and digest within the Market; it is difficult to navigate upon first visit, and it is easy to overlook hidden gems.
The Market’s current mobile solution is a responsive website which is not conducive to the mobile experience. It does not offer satisfactory navigation of the Market.
A better presentation of the contents of the Market and improved navigation features are needed for mobile use.
An extensive process of research and development was carried out to find a better mobile solution for Pike Place Market.
This includes content strategy, competitive analysis, user personae, user scenarios, paper prototyping, sketches, wireframes, high-fidelity design, usability testing, and digital prototyping.
As a result, a robust digital proto-type was created using Sketch and Invision applications.
The prototype offers the capability to search the Market’s businesses and attractions with several display methods for results, user-selected preferences, and an augmented reality wayfinding system for navigating to attractions and experiencing virtual guided tours.
PROPOSED USER FLOW
Written and Illustrated by Lauren Aldrich 2018
PAPER PROTOTYPING PROCESS (VIDEO)
NOW YOU TRY!
Know Thy Client
The evaluation of several clients helped me decide which client is best suited for a mobile solution upgrade. This way I did not spin my wheels for no reason. Secondly, learning about my selected client in depth helped me create an app that is completely tailored to the individual, unique client, rather than being generic and non-representative of their essence and needs.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PROCESS
Work It Out on Paper
Out of all the stages involving the visual layout of the app, the sketching and paper prototyping stage was by far the most informative and useful; it allowed me to get the basic idea out and test it before investing the time and energy to make the digital version. This step is low risk and exploratory. Many giant errors and crucial observations were made here that provided a solid base for the digital design.
Research is Key
By researching trends and patterns in app design and looking at competitors within the Augmented Reality category of apps, my own designs were better informed. I knew what features would be helpful to adopt, and what features are better avoided. This way, I was able to focus on what will make my app design great and successful instead of a failure.
Wireframes for the Win
Though the sketches I created made the wireframing task relatively easy, I still spent a lot of time on the wireframes, making them precise and well thought-out. Without color and other high fidelity aspects getting in the way, I was able to further hone my design before taking it to the next level. By the time I was done here, the design was nearly complete and rendering the high-fidelity designs was a breeze.
Know Thy User
Any app design is really about providing solutions to user needs. Without taking steps to identify with the user, the app will surely fail. By creating user personas and several user scenarios, I was able to imagine myself in the user’s shoes and anticipate their needs. This step is crucial; it most certainly led to the betterment of my design.
Test, test, is this thing on?
After all this work went into the process, it was like sending a baby bird out of the nest for the first time to test the hi-fi prototype on users. At this stage, I had hoped that my design was perfect, but testing shed light on yet more problem areas needing attention. This step was crucial; after ironing out those kinks, I have a design of which I am very proud.