Das Ergosign Gebäude in Saarbrücken von außen.

xParking App – Part 2

Dorian Bauer Principal UX Software Engineer • Team Lead & Technology Lead Flutter

Martin Roos Principal UX Designer • Principal UX Designer

24/09/2020 • 5 minutes reading time

We have been using xParking — our internal app for booking parking spots — for more than a year in Saarbrücken. Time to draw a small conclusion.

How did the idea for the app evolve? And how are the Google framework Flutter and Collaborative UX Design involved? Read our first part of the article series for more background info.

Before the rollout in Saarbrücken, our software engineers Dorian, Steffen and Lisa as well as our UX Designer Martin conducted a field test of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) of the app with a small user group.

Schematic representation of the functional scope of an MVP.
The MVP never consists of all features of a future product. And that’s a good thing!

The test proved to be very valuable, as it allowed them to gather essential feedback early on:

An example: what happens if a parking spot is blocked by accident?

Before the evaluation, the MVP did not provide an answer to this essential question.
But thanks to the feedback provided by real usage it’s now part of the design. Now it is possible to ask for a new parking spot or, at a push, park in the parking garage nearby.

And practice shows: our colleagues love the app!

“I really appreciate that I can easily come to work by car. Booking a parking spot is easy and fast. Simply useful!“

How well the app is actually perceived has now been confirmed in another study with about 50 employees. Applying a UXQ (User Experience Questionnaire), we could confirm that the user experience is perceived as first-class.

Bar chart of the results of the app evaluation using UXQ from Marie-Lou Wechsler's master's thesis.
Results of the app evaluation using UXQ from Marie-Lou Wechsler's master's thesis

Also, we found further opportunities to improve the app, which we then analyzed in an Ideation Workshop and during a subsequent validation: How come colleagues do not unblock their personal parking spot when they are not at work? And, above all, how can we change this?

Reacting flexibly to special circumstances.

Exceptional times require flexible concepts: Slowly, and following strict hygiene and security measures, our office in Saarbrücken comes back to life.

Our colleagues can safely and unproblematically come back to our offices thanks to our new app xDesk! What is xDesk? Read on here.

Due to this situation, less personal parking spots are required and more flexible spaces are needed by commuters, which want to avoid using trains and buses.

Thanks to the flexibly designed backend structure, we were able to easily react to the requirements: we use a special config file group to categorize our parking spots:

  • Pool Parking Space: These spaces are available for booking for all employees without personal parking spots, i. e. commuters.

  • Employee Parking Space: They are assigned to one employee. If it’s not used, it has to be „de-booked“ before being available for our colleagues.

During the Corona restrictions, we easily classified all parking spots as pool parking spots.

This neither required a lot of effort by our software engineers nor do our colleagues have to de-book their parking spot constantly.

Next: create a positive experience for everyone

We noticed that our colleagues simply forget to de-book their designated parking spot if they do not need it. Unfortunately, this leads to them being annoyed with themselves.

So, to minimize this frustration after the time of Corona restrictions, our team is checking different concepts to remind users to make their parking spot available for others.

And that’s only one step to keep the number of available parking spots high. Further exciting ideas are already waiting in the starting blocks.