Case Study:
LA Zoo App Design
Project Overview
The Problem
Parents and new visitors feel overwhelmed and leave the zoo feeling they didn’t see everything they wanted to see.
The Goal
Design an app for the LA Zoo that allows users to easily create a route to get around the Zoo efficiently. 
The Benefits
By having an app, the LA Zoo can increase its visitor attendance which will increase Zoo revenue. Since guests can check the app to see which animals are available and upcoming events, no guest will ever worry about not seeing their favorite Zoo animal. By having these features available guests are more likely to return because they can trust the app to let them know who is ready to put on a show.

The Product
The La Zoo is a zoo located in the Los Angeles area. The LA Zoo creates an environment for recreation and discovery; inspires an appreciation of wildlife through exhibitory and education. The Zoo is home to more than 2,200 mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles representing more than 270 different species, of which more than 58 are endangered. The LA Zoo App targets customers like parents, visitors, and animal lovers who want to get around the Zoo in a more efficient way.
My Role
UX designer designing an app for the LA Zoo from conception to delivery.
Conducting interviews, paper and digital wireframing, low and high-fidelity prototyping, conducting usability studies, accounting for accessibility, and iterating on designs.
Project duration
March 2020 to September 2020
Understanding the user
I conducted interviews and created empathy maps to understand the users I'm designing for and their needs. A primary user group identified through research where parents who have children who are still dependent on them who want to keep their kids engaged.
This user group confirmed initial assumptions about LA Zoo visitors, but research also revealed that engagement was not the only factor limiting users from getting around the zoo. Other user problems included animal interests, itinerary, or challenges that make it difficult to keep a child on a schedule or on track for a no-hassle zoo day.
          User pain points
1. Navigation
Finding their way around the zoo is confusing for first-timers and takes up time trying to figure out where they want to go next.
2. Activities
There may not be many events and activities happening, but when they do happen, a schedule and location aren’t provided for people who want to attend or who are curious about what this zoo has to offer.
3. Animal Facts
Animal facts around the zoo aren’t usually up to date or give more details and facts. Oftentimes these signs are not available in multiple languages.

Persona & problem statement
Lisa is a mother who needs a way to navigate through the Zoo swiftly because her special needs child needs constant visual stimulation.
User journey map
Mapping Lisa’s journey revealed how helpful it would be for users to have access to an app dedicated to this Zoo.
Starting the design
Paper Wireframes
Drafting iterations of each screen of the app on paper ensured that the elements that made it to digital wireframes would be well-suited to address user pain points. For the Route planning screen, I prioritized different route options to help the user save time or give them an idea of where to start.

Stars indicate elements of each sketch that would be used in the initial digital wireframes.
           Digital Wireframes
As the initial design phase continued, I made sure to base screen designs on feedback and findings from the user research.
Having more details about the wildlife was a key user need that needed to be addressed in the designs in addition to equipping the app  with event information for that day of visit
Usability Study Findings
I carried out two rounds of usability testing. The results of the initial research guided the design process from wireframes to mock-ups. The second utilized a high-fidelity prototype to show which elements of the mock-ups needed to be improved.
Round 1 findings
1. Users want to see in-stores before they arrive
2. Users want to get around to the zoo easily
3. Users want a better way to order food
Round 2 findings
1. Saving a zoo route should be optional
2. Instruction on how to create a route should be available before creation
Refining the design
Early designs ordered pre-created route options, but after the usability studies, I decided just starting with the option to create your own route would be simplified. I also revised the design so users can see other information about the zoo including hours and shopping information.
          Accessibility considerations
1. Icon
Used icons to help make navigation easier
2. Images
Used detailed imagery for animal and activity selection to help users better understand their selection.
3. Disabilities
Provided American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) filter option for users who use wheelchairs (but not limited to), so they can have an easy route around the Zoo.

          Refined designs
High-fidelity prototype
The final high-fidelity prototype presented a cleaner user flow for creating a route throughout the Zoo and making edits to the created route.

View the LA Zoo high-fidelity prototype
Going forward
The app makes users feel like the LA Zoo really cares about their journey through the zoo and their experience.

One quote from peer feedback:
“The app makes it easy for first-time Zoo visitors to get around and even for parents who need to keep their little ones on a schedule. I would totally use this app the next time I visit the zoo.”
What I learned:
While working on the LA Zoo app, I discovered that the first concepts are simply the start of the process. Each version of the app's design is influenced by usability tests and peer input.
          Next steps
1.  Testing
Conduct another round of usability studies to confirm that the users' pain concerns have been appropriately handled.
2. User Research
Conduct more user research to determine any new areas needed.

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