USC Tailgating Platform Design

Platform Design
My Role
UX Lead

How might we create a meaningful experience for tailgaters so they can select their best location and amenities?

About USC

USC is one of the most prestigious universities in California and the United States, as well as the home of one of the most competitive and historic NCAA teams: The Trojans. Trojans fans have carried the tradition of going to the campus every Saturday from 7:00 until game time, and have barbecues, drink beer and spend time with family and friends prior Trojan’s match, a tradition known as Tailgating. However, selecting your spot within the campus was no easy task, neither for fans nor USC staff, as the staff needed to draw boxes on illustrator individually , and updating all of them when customer requested changes.

Tailgating Tradition.
USC fans have maintained the tradition for almost 100 years.

A call to adventure

USC partnered with Wizeline to figure out a technological solution to generate the customer experience for tailgaters when selecting the best spot for them to do tailgating, as well as the requirements they needed in terms of electricity. space.As the UX Lead of the project, I started my process conducting in-depth stakeholder interviews to uncover the expectations they had of the project, as well as all the valuable information of the customer needs they had discovered over the last 20 years, so I could take that input in consideration when proposing solutions.

UX Process.
After immersing myself in the business and opportunity of the project, I lay out a high-level approach for UX efforts, so I get shared understanding and buy-in from stakeholders.

Crossing the threshold – Applying human-centered design

After having a deep sense of the way Tailgating worked as a business model, the potential risks associated, and the goals USC as an organization wanted to accomplish (such as creating a honest, upbeat community of Tailgaters and provide a seamless experience for them), I decided to conduct collaborative sessions with my team and the stakeholders so everyone felt part of the solution. We decided to create Proto-Personas and Customer Journey Maps to identify potential pain points in the current experience.

Personas and Journey Maps.
These artifacts helped the team share the same reality of the problems and challenges customers were facing.

After exploring the problem space through different approaches, we had a fair amount of potential opportunities to transform into delightful moments in the experience,  so we started ideating in a collaborative way. The team decided to divide the experience into two perspectives: visitor experience and admin experience. For the visitor experience, we generated solutions for tailgaters to select the games they wanted to attend during the season, their preferred spots, as well as a payment method (handled through PayPal).

Lo-fi Sketching.
In order to explore potential navigation, interactions, and identify key user flows, I conduct a lot of sketching and show them to stakeholders and team members to make sure
we’re on the same page.

For the admin experience, we defined the flow of creating a new event, establishing pricing for amenities, generating reports and permits for visitors, as well as defining spots for visitors, which required integrating the campus map, and making it interactive.

In order to avoid big design upfront, I build wireframes of the most crucial flows so the development team can start working on the architecture and infrastructure.

The Ordeal – Designing an interactive map

One of the most challenging features the team required to design consisted on adding enough interactivity to a map in order for admin users to select the spots they would assign to the visitors. To do so, the team needed to find a way of leveraging the existing map of the campus (which was an AutoCad file) and make it web-friendly so we could add an interactivity layer to it. From a user experience standpoint, we needed to take care of performance and creation, manipulation of the spots to give the necessary tools to admin users so they could perform greatly at their work and be able to assign spots to more than 300 people, individually.

Map Interactivity.
Some of the user’s goals gravitated around  facilitating the spot to visitors, reviewing their requirements, and providing documents for them such as permits and signs.
High-Fidelity Mockups
I conducted an in-depth brand research and content inventory to translate wireframes into high-fidelity mockups that could be part of the overall USC digital system.
Usability Testing.
Every feature was submitted to  several rounds of testing to spot potential usability issues in discoverability, affordances, task completion and confusing text.
Lightweight Design System.
To ensure consistency and speed up the development process, I  documented all the atoms and components  in a design system,  available through Zeplin for the developers.

The Road Back – Project Outcomes

We reduced the time Admin users would spend assigning spots and generating permits in 60%, as well as allowed customers to have a meaningful and engaging experience when selecting the games and preferred spots for the season.

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