Pilot: Signage Re(Fined)

Elijah Allen

Research Questions

1. How do parking experiences differ among various driver groups?

2. How might current street parking signage be reimagined to
better translate information for drivers during their travel?


Connie Hwang, SJSU Graphic Design Professor
Primary Advisor

Chang Sik Kim, SJSU Graphic Design Professor
Secondary Advisor

Dr. Evan Palmer, SJSU Perception Psychology Professor
Tertiary Advisor


The nature of color, form and language play a significant role in how information within signage is interpreted. Signage plays a crucial role in translating complex information, however language used within parking signs instead limits the ability of drivers to process information.

Despite having carefully examined signage information, drivers feel uncertain, misinterpretation leads to penalization. Unclear use of language results in stress and confusion. I intend to design a more useful form for organizing parking information while developing new strategies to help guide my own design process. I intend to examine driver interactions with current signages to develop an alternative display of parking information.

Through close examination of densely populated cities of the world, I will evaluate various systems of past and present street parking signage. Upon visiting specific sites, I will examine the effects of busy signages through a brief survey to find out whether information is processed differently among different driver groups. Additionally, I wish to explore the link between ticket accumulation and drivers experience along with ticket accumulation rates based on parking signage types. Lastly, I will uncover a new mode of translation through metaphors to improve the overall clarity of parking time-zones.

Initial findings from surveys
show what drivers experience
while they are parking.

Survey Interviews

To get a solid understanding of who my audience would be, I began reaching out to individuals around San José State University’s (SJSU’s) campus who drove to school everyday and had experience with getting a parking ticket within the area. I found that many individuals chose to not commute using a vehicle to avoid the chaos of finding parking within the area.

Survey Questions

1. How long have you driven?

2. Where do you park mostly?

3. When do you plan where you’ll park?

4. How long do you read parking signs?

5. Where have you been ticketed?

6. What was the most common reason?

Parking payment
page and map.

Pilot: Parking Mobile App

Pilot is a parking translation tool for drivers looking to avoid misreading parking signs. While It begins as a mobile app, it primarily functions as a parking spot locator and payment system for its in-car navigation system. The app is designed to keep the functions minimal for users while driving. In order to offer a seamless transition from one place to another, I’ve introduced this mobile app that stores preset controls and settings to keep drivers focused on their commute. The app is launched with the Pilot Logo over a map background hinting at the drivers location. Upon arriving at the parking spot, the mobile app allows you to pay for a meter through a simple confirmation. A timer is set for when the meter will expire and notifies you of when that time is approaching.


The final outcome of this project is a small windshield UI display, which is minimal in comparison to its earlier iterations to minimize distraction for the driver. The design was placed in mockups from photographs taken while parked throughout the city and shot at close distance to highlight details of the navigation features and scheduling overview. There is no interaction with the UI itself because it functions solely to display information that is fed through its system to inform drivers of surrounding parking. To explain how Pilot’s UI translates parking information to drivers, I composed a visual of specific parking signages around my neighborhood in Berkeley, California, where I took record of their posted information, then developed a redesign to exist within drivers vehicle.

Pilots do not have signs in the air, yet they still know where to land. What if driving were the same?


In conclusion, I found that the process of designing an experience is challenging and requires a deep understanding of the habits of human beings. This project made me consider my own daily actions which helped me design better for other users.

Although the outcome of this project seemed a bit apart from what I initially imagined, I was open to finding something new and with the help of researching new advancements in technology, I became more aware of potential solutions to everyday problems. Design can be done in many forms. However, I had to consider the most important issues, and design something unique to attempt to translate necessary information for everyday drivers.

  2020 timeiswhatyoumakeofit