Camping Reservation Service: First Come, First Served
In the past year, BC Parks established a program of ongoing design research that provides direct access to feedback from the people who use our services. We regularly share what we learn from our research sessions on this blog.
In December 2022, we conducted usability testing with people who volunteered to take part in design research with BC Parks. In this post, we share what we learned about searching for first come, first served (FCFS) campsites.
Searching for first come, first served campsites
We wanted to understand how people search for FCFS campsites and learn if new icons on the map would assist with identifying these types of campsites.
Our goals were to:
- Learn how campers interact with the camping reservation system when searching for FCFS campsites.
- Identify if new map icons have improved the searching experience.
- Identify ways we can improve the experience and make first come, first served campsites more easily discoverable.
During these sessions we asked participants to find FCFS campsites for a specific campground on the camping reservation system. While they performed their search, we observed their interactions.
What were our key findings?
People expected to find information about FCFS campsites on a park landing page on the camping reservations site. They do not expect that they will need to use the map to navigate to the campsite level where you will find FCFS information.
Common places people looked to find FCFS information were the filters, the map legend, and the park information text.
“Umm. Well, I don’t see that there’s an option anywhere that it talks about FCFS.”
People did not understand the map icons and colours, as the shapes did not match the legend and the descriptions were too vague.
“I don’t know what the little gold stars are.”
“I don’t understand which one is first come, first served.”
People did not intuitively know to click on a star on the map to reveal text that tells you a campsite is FCFS.
Following our usability testing, a shape legend has been added the reservation service, which better describes the FCFS star shape.
More design research posts
Interested in design research at BC Parks? Don’t miss these posts:
- To learn how design research works and what research we’ve done during the past year, read A Year of Design Research at BC Parks.
- To see our findings about how people use the BC Parks website, read What do BC Parks visitors want from our website?
- To find out what people think about the camping reservation website, read How can we make it easier to reserve camping?
- To understand how policies affect visitors, read How do the booking window and no-show policies influence camper behaviour?
How can you take part in our research?
BC Parks website survey
- Visit our new website.
- Click the Share your feedback link at the top of the site (in the bright yellow strip) to let us know what you think.
Volunteer for one-on-one research sessions
We are always looking for people who would like to take part in our design research activities. If you’re interested in one-on-one research, you can sign up using this form.
We contact people from our (very long! we’re chuffed, thank you!) volunteer list at random, so we can’t promise that we’ll be able to talk to you for this type of research.
Visit the reservation webpage at: camping.bcparks.ca