An AR parking assistant with heads-up displays and voice-control system integrated into the vehicle.

8 Weeks
Cynthia He
Sarah Chu
User Research
UX & UI Design
Video Editing


Finding parking is often a frustrating and tedious task, especially in an urban city like Seattle. Drivers want to find an available spot that is cheap, near their destinations, and fits their cars. However, it is usually hard to achieve in reality. With the acknowledgment of the difficulties in the process of finding a parking space in urban areas, we came up with one "How Might We" statement:

How might we design a system that can help drivers find a suitable parking space efficiently?


Parko, an augmented reality parking assistant with heads-up displays and voice-control system integrated into the vehicle, to help drivers find an available parking space efficiently.


Voice Activation &
Map of Parking Lots

Drivers activate Parko, let it choose a parking lot through voice control. The map shows the users' current position, the destination, the chosen lot with its price and capacity.



The navigation arrow on the ground will lead drivers to the chosen parking lot.


info tag

The info tag shows the price of the parking lots and the confidence level of finding a spot in the lot. Drivers can decide whether to enter any parking lot along the way, or following the navigations to the chosen lot.


check & cross

The checks and crosses show whether the car can park in the spot or not. The availability depends on the size and restriction of the spot.


Participant Observation and Photo Analysis

We observe Dan, a 20-year-old college student, drive around the University Village area to find a parking spot during peak hour. Through the use of note-taking, video recording, interviewing, and the "Think Aloud Protocol",  we gain a better understanding of the procedures of finding a parking spot as well as the driver's thought process.

Task Analysis

After the participatory observation and photo analysis, we further analyze the process of finding parking using a tree diagram. By first identifying the actant's goal, and then breaking the tasks into the decisions or sub-tasks, we gain a better understanding of the hierarchy of the task as well as frictions, pain points that could be potentially improved.


Three Steps of Parking

Parking could be essentially broken down into 3 key steps:​​​

1. ​Drive around to find a spot.
2. Evaluate the spot.
3. Successfully park the car.​​​

​Each step through the parking process has the risk of task failure or leading the user to begin the task over again, creating friction.

Reasons for Hard to Find a Suitable Parking Lot

We notice that the reason for drivers hard to find a suitable parking spot is due to their lack of information to make effective judgment and decisions about where to park. Based on this insight, we form our Point of View: ​

​"Drivers in the urban city needs more information about the parking lots in order to make efficient parking decision because they do not have access to the information in advance."​​​​

and from that, we create a "How Might We" Statement:

​​How might we design a system that can give drivers enough information about the parking lot to facilitate them to make efficient parking decisions?

Design Principles


Efficient: Help users find an open parking lot on their first try.


Safe: Create a non-intrusive solution to ensure user safety while driving.


Informative: Help users access the information of the parking area.


Based on our "How Might We" Statement, we come up with more than 25 ideas and organize these ideas into 5 categories:

1. Redesign the physical parking lot
2. Parking planning mobile applications
3. Parking sharing system/apps
4. Redesign parking information meters/signs
5. An augmented reality system integrated into the vehicle

We then evaluate each idea based on our design principles as well as the feasibility, viability, and desirability of the idea. Eventually, we decide to narrow our design solution down to the augmented reality system that is integrated into the vehicle.


Through our research, we realize that different drivers have different driving habits. With this knowledge in mind, we generalize the drivers into two types: the Planner and the Reactor.
The Planner: Drivers who like to plan their trips and find out where to park in advance.
The Reactor: Drivers who like to figure out where to park while near the destination.  

Below are the Functional Storyboards for these two types of users.

The Situational Storyboards depicts a reactor's experience with Parko.

Flow Diagram

We create a user flow diagram showing the experience of finding a parking space for both the planner and the reactor with the intervention of Parko, the augmented reality parking assistant.

Through the flow diagram, it is clear to see how Parko works and facilitates the process of finding a parking spot.

Design Decisions

Many of our design decisions were made to ensure user safety while driving. For example, the heads-up display is located right above the steering wheel so that the driver directly see parking lot information/map. When the vehicle is parked, the heads-up display will be bigger to increase visibility. When the vehicle is on drive, the heads-up display will be smaller so that it will not obstruct the driver's view.

We chose blue and orange for our interface’s color scheme in consideration of the colorblind drivers. We also put the display in the middle so that both the driver and the passenger can see the interface.

final design


Data Collection
Apart from the price and location of different parking lots, for which the information could be collected using Google Maps, Parko provides drivers with the real-time availability of parking spots in each lot, as well as the restriction and size of the specific spot. We assume that all data is collected by the real-time cameras in the parking lot, the sensors on the car and each spot.

Future improvement
We need to consider if the technology is feasible and viable to collect all the data we need, and if it is desirable for the stakeholder to invest Parko.

We try to eliminate distractions caused by the AR windshield display to drivers in our design by using a voice-control system and making the interface simple and clear so that drivers know the information they need immediately at first glance. However, there are still concerns about incorporating AR technology into the car, and whether it would interfere with the reality and cause dangers while driving.

Future improvement
Do research on the voice-control system and incorporate it more into our design. However, we need to consider the accuracy of voice system recognizing driver's demand. What's more, sometimes it is easier for drivers to make decisions through the touchscreen. Therefore, we need to consider drivers use what action in different scenarios. We also need to do more user research about drivers' behaviors and reactions with AR heads-up display while driving.

More Scenarios
Due to the time constraint, we only focused on designing the interface for a reactant's scenario.

Future improvement
Think more scenarios and design interactions between drivers and the system. For example, if the driver is not satisfied with the first parking lot the system chooses, how does the driver see more options and select the one he wants to go?  

More Projects

OverviewResearchDesign PrinciplesIdeationStoryboardTask FlowFinal DesignReflection