Trapped in the Parking Garage


I walk to my car after a concert ends (approximately at midnight). I arrive at my car and drive to the exit of the garage. In my way is the gate that requires I pay my fee to leave. I go to pay and find that the exit is closed. Now, I am trapped in the garage, 30 minutes from home, with no assistance around to help.


Beautifully hand-crafted drawing of user experience

Design Process (AEIOU)

  • Activities
    • Driving car
  • Environments
    • Parking garage
    • Inside car
    • A long way from home
    • Nighttime
  • Interactions
    • Turning on and driving car
    • Interacting with automated exit machine
  • Objects
    • Car
    • Exit gate
    • Automated exit machine
  • Users
    • Any person with a car in this parking garage

Proposed Solutions

I had many different ideas for a solution to this problem, depicted below:


Brainstorm of ideas. Positive outcomes are in black and negative outcomes are in red.

After comparing the positives and negatives of each idea, I decided that the best solution would be to keep at least one employee working during the graveyard shift. This means the parking garage would never close, but it would also not rely on machines that require maintenance and could break down. The extra costs would not be too much since a single $10/hr worker is relatively cheap compared to the overall costs of the garage.


Depiction of chosen solution. An employee is available at any time of day.


The biggest challenge I encountered was trying to come up with a solution that would help all parking garage users, not just myself in that specific scenario. This is the main reason I did not go with my 3rd idea of coordinating with event coordinators. My experience involved a nearby event ending late, which led to the incident. This would not help all parking garage users, though. There are those that may be going to the nearby bars until 2 am and have their sober buddy drive them home. These people would not be associated with any event and would still be trapped in the garage. Therefore, the most difficult challenge was to find a solution that would benefit all users instead of just myself.


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