Delaware River Waterfront Company - Onyx Valley Studios Project

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Overview

The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) is a nonprofit corporation that designs, develops and manages the central Delaware River waterfront. Their ultimate goal is to create a vibrant location on the waterfront for recreational, cultural, and commercial activities. We worked closely with DWRC to help them discover and solve some of the problems their visitors were having when visiting Spruce Street Harbor Park, one of the parks they manage. Street Harbor Park is an urban beach located at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia. The park is known for their hammocks which attracts visitors from all over the city. In 3 months, we developed 3 solutions they could implement.

My Role

UX Designer / Researcher

  • Designed prototypes and solutions

  • Conducted interviews

Problem

During our client kickoff meeting, the client specified that there is an overcrowding issue in the park that results in a limited amount of hammocks available for visitors. In the past, DRWC added more hammocks into the park but that didn’t solve the problem. We saw this as an opportunity to create solutions for the overcrowding of the hammocks.

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Field Research

As a team, we conducted field research in the park to get a better understanding of the visitors habits and pain points. Through these interviews we were able to identify the different journeys visitors have in the park.

What we were trying to figure out from research:

  • Understand people’s motivations to come to the park

  • Note which parts of the park people spend their time at and why

  • What the experience of finding a hammock is like?

  • Learn how people navigate and move through the park

 
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Debriefing and Data Analysis

After the field research me and my team came back together to analyze the information we found. We confirmed that the hammock availability was one of the biggest pain points for visitors. We also identified why.

  • There is a hammock hogging issue. Once people get their hands on a hammocks, they tend to stay in them for a long time. One of the reasons for this is because they don’t know the next time they will get a hammock.

  • The park has a very lax culture so there are no set rules when it comes to the hammocks. The lack of rules gives the visitors leeway when it comes to the amount of time they can spend on the hammocks.

  • There are other activities in the park but people are unaware of them.

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How might we change the culture of the park to introduce a new way of experiencing hammocks.

Prototypes

  • Etiquette Signage: Adding signage into the park will be a reminder to visitors to be mindful. Adding a variety of signs that are quirky and fun will make visitors aware of the hammock rules without them feeling like they are being policed.

  • Pin System: Handing out pins to those who share a hammock would be an incentive. This will encourage visitors to be mindful of the time they are spending in a hammock and to continue to share.

  • Interactive Scavenger Hunt: The Scavenger hunt will prompt visitors to explore areas of the park that are not overly populated.  This Scavenger hunt will be social media based. People who choose to participate can submit their entry through their Instagram page. Introducing this activity into the park will slightly change the passive/relaxed culture of SSHP to be a more interactive one.

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Prototype Testing

Our goal for testing was to see how these prototypes would change the behavior of those who use the hammocks. One challenge that I faced while testing the prototypes was setting up the scene for those who’ve never been to Spruce Street Harbor Park. We didn’t have the opportunity to test the prototypes in the park so we had to recreate it the best way we could. I had to explain the specific situation and the atmosphere of the park to make sure the people we were questioning had a full understanding of what was going on. I learned something interesting while I was interviewing one guy after he finished going through the scavenger hunt. He shared that we wouldn’t be comfortable to share his scavenger hunt findings on social media because it wouldn’t fit his timeline aesthetic and the need of his followers. It made me consider those who take social media seriously. The overall feedback from the prototypes was positive and we were able to finalize these prototypes into the final solutions.

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Solutions

  •  Etiquette Signage: Adding signage into the park will be a reminder to visitors to be mindful. Adding a variety of signs that are quirky and fun will make visitors aware of the hammock rules without them feeling like they are being policed.

  • Hammock Awareness Campaign: Bringing awareness to the idea of sharing creates a social pressure or expectancy. Much like an “I Voted” sticker, just the notion that other people participate can encourage others to do so as well. These are fun, collectible pins that are distributed to visitors in the park, so that they encourage hammock sharing between one another.

  • Interactive Scavenger Hunt: The Scavenger hunt will prompt visitors to explore areas of the park that are not overly populated.  This Scavenger hunt will be social media based. People who choose to participate can submit their entry through their Instagram page. Introducing this activity into the park will slightly change the passive/relaxed culture of SSHP to be a more interactive one.
    Field Research.

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How Testing The Prototypes Affected the Final Solutions

After testing the prototypes, we learned people are more inclined to be mindful of their time when there is a sign in sight. Our prototypes consisted of over 20 signs and through the response from the testing, we were able to narrow them down to 4 signs. We outsourced to have these signs created to have cohesive designs. For the hammock sharing awareness pins, we decided to change the idea to a general distribution of pins. Instead of it just being exclusively to those who share a hammock who get them as a reward, we learned that it should be handed out to everyone in the park so everyone is encouraged to share a hammock.