Amusement Park Ride

How to reduce queues by 45% at theme parks through the use of a mobile app


During the month the app was used at Chessington over 100,000 photos were downloaded.


Queues at the park were drastically reduced, up to 45% less, as customers opted for the app.


One step closer to a fully self-served system, allowing staff members to be retrained.

How I achieved the above....


Wow, where do I start? This was a very unique project, and a very unique set up in terms of working structure, and how the company evolved during this project. My role was two fold. The first half of the project required my UX researcher hat, and my tasks included planning the trial and aiding in participant recruiting. The second half of the project needed me to take a more UX design approach, including sketching and prototyping.

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For the first few days, I spent time playing with the product as well as talking to members of the Digital team including the PO and developers. My first main task was to inherit the original usability trial plan, named the "Alpha Trials" which had been decided to be a live trial a Madam Tussauds, London. This trial had been designed with the technical backend testing in mind, not UX/user. Therefore I had to improvise. We tested over 100 people in three days. People were given the app and asked to go around the site using it. I followed a few people around at a time, observing and asking questions. 


​There were so many pain points found during the trials, and in a perfect world we would have changed them all. Unfortunately we only had four weeks to get these changes built, therefore I met up with the team and created an effort needed versus pain point chart. By involving the team I was able to get a better understanding from views I am not experienced in. This allowed us to make a full informed decision. Some of the things we had to change were:

  • Home page creation: 85% of people stressed the concept of being lost within the app; there was no central hub.  

  • User error: 67% of users made the mistake of not selecting a vital dropdown menu when they needed to, this flow        had to be split so that users wouldn't miss this aspect of the flow.

  • General Informational Architecture: Again, users felt lost and certain aspects, such as methods to retrieving their          photos, didn't match real world representation.  

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Once we knew which issues needed to be fixed I started sketching. I started this in isolation first, on my own in a room. I sketched a variety of different solutions for each issue, see above for some examples. I then invited the team into the meeting room to discuss the pros and cons of each solution. We decided on which direction to go on from this meeting. The UI designer was to start soon, and budget for out-sourcing had be stopped so these designs were shelved while I started work on the Digipass integration, see below.

​We wanted users to be able to retrieve their photos onto the app from the theme park rides, and then purchase those photos (this would remove a water-mark). However the business had decided that in-app payments were not the right way to go. Instead we would integrate with an on-part existing solution called Digipass. This was a product, wristband, users could buy which would allow them to store their un-watermarked photos on as they go. All we needed to do was design a way in the app to scan a Digipass to "unlock" their photos, the idea was a user would get their photos watermarked in app, purchase a Digipass, scan, this would unlock the photo. See below for initial sketches. 

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The concepts that were designed post-Alpha trial, and for digipass had to be tested with users. Nothing should go to high-fidelity or Axure wireframing without being tested. Paper prototyping lends itself to a Lean testing approach very well. Therefore I created a paper prototype which I then tested with users over the course of a day.

I created the prototype using the mobile app POP, allowing me to make it clickable and closely represent the experience. I then ran a day session of testing users I found in my office building (but didn't work for Picsolve, nor digital) and ran usability trials with these. Results were compared with the Alpha trials and we found a massive increase in understanding of the app. See below for some examples of the screens.


​Once we had the feedback from the testing I fed this back to the team. We then decided on which items to iterate. Copy was a big one so I worked with Risk and Legal, as well as the product owner to make sure the copy changes I preposed were up to scratch. Iteration took another few days to so, running my designs past the team and the BA to help write user stories. Ideally we wanted to test again, but couldn't get the budget and there was a urgency to get the designs into build.

Although we had involved developers very early on, and run most ideas by them, it was very important at this stage that everyone was on the same page. Myself and the team ran the developers thought the final designs, and the BA took them through the user stories they had written. The developers sat in their own team and had a lot of work coming in from around the lab, not just from us, so it was keep they understood the flows. We used InVision here to our advantage, and handed over designs this way through JIRA tickets and InVision links, they could then use the inspect mode to get the CSS information. 


UI Designer to the rescue!  A new UI Designer started which meant I could hand over the chosen designs to her ready to get full-fidelity mock ups created. You can see some examples of the designs below. Right now we are planning Beta summative testing, to see if users can use these designs. We plan to launch in October 2016 - At the time of writing.

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I love qualitative data, but quantitative data is just as important. Google Analytics is amazing, so I decided to teach myself how to use it, interpret it, and write specifications for developers. I'm still learning, but I was able to create a Google specification for the Piccl app project, both old and new designs. I worked with the developers to make sure the way I wanted it to be tagged was optimised and possible. Once we launch this will be monitored to identify key user behaviour. 


Although this was one of my first projects as a UX Designer I felt that I held my own after being thrown into the deep end. I was, and still am, very grateful to have been able to use my working hours to design an app from scratch as part of my first professional role in London. 

The end result launched at Chessington Park in 2016, and although the company closed the digital offices in 2017 I was very proud of the work the team did. 

During the month the app was used at Chessington over 100,000 photos were downloaded.

Queues at the park were drastically reduced, up to 45% less, as customers opted for the app.


One step closer to a fully self-served system, allowing staff members to be retrained.


We also worked on a website portal to go hand-in-hand with the above app. This project can be found here. Please note this is an old project and has not been updated.


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