iPhone X with Zoo Atlanta Prototype Splash Screen.

Zoo Atlanta

Map and Search Application

Roles: Researcher, Data Analyst, User Screener, Graphic Designer, Visual Designer, and User Experience Designer

Date / Time: Four Weeks. September 2019 – November 2019

Tools: Adobe XD, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Miro and Mobbin

The Challenge


Throughout the Zoo there are animals, facilities, and pathways that aim to direct guests to where they need to go. Here are the statistics; In 2018 there were 856,441 guests, 2017 there were 945,408 guests, and 2016 there were 997,976. 856,441 guests require a map to navigate the Zoo. 

The Zoo itself hands out a paper map with a schedule for the Zoo. Essentially over one million sheets of paper must be printed in order for enough maps to be distributed for the Zoo. That is a great amount of paper. If the Zoo aims to keep in line of keeping itself in the views of conservation of animals and the earth, a digital solution can help cut the amount of paper waste that occurs at the Zoo.


Discovery & Research Analysis

The movie Rampage had made a significant influence in the revenue increase from $29,580,879 in 2016 to $40,794,891 in 2017. This is an increase of $11,214,012 or an over 138% increase. The zoo was only closed for two days for that event.

In 2018 there were 856,441 guests, 2017 there were 945,408 guests, and 2016 there were 997,976.

Number of Volunteers in 2018 were 837, in 2017 490, and in 2016 there were 860.

Number of species in collection 2016 were 260, in 2017 there were 248, and then 2018 there were 241.

In the last couple of years there has been a small decrease of species.

A recent building project in 2018 for the Savannah Hall. It is a renovation project of the Cyclorama Building. This was most likely possible from the increase in revenue from 2017.

There has been a gradual increase of Revenue and Expense from 2014 to 2017. 2017 is an anomaly but is a case of finding outside contribution for revenue.


Field Research

I conducted field research for near a week at the Zoo. For 5 days I experienced the Zoo as a guest. Interviews and quality assessments were made through this stage of the research.

Most destinations nearer to the front of the Zoo are more developed compared to the deeper end of the Zoo. The new addition of the African Savannah and the Slimy Scaly Spectacular are great modern experiences for the Zoo.

Other areas of the Zoo are not as maintained or recognizable.


Customer Personas

Man Smiling towards the left.

Hugh Saturation

Age: 31

Job / Occupation: Event Planner

Goal: Finding an area for team building

Hugh is looking for a private team building event dealing with nature. The Zoo is a local area located north of Atlanta which is perfect for most of the company’s employees and travel time. The Ford Pavilion is a large area for the needs of the team building event.

Portrait photo of a woman in an open field

Eleanor Skinner

Age: 52

Job / Occupation: Nany / Baby Sitter

Goal: Having a nice walk and picnic

Eleanor is a yearly member of the Zoo and uses her membership to go on walks through the Zoo with the children she watches.

Little girl laying on grass

Natalya Norman

Age: 10

Job / Occupation: Elementary Student

Goal: Finding the Pandas

Coming to the Zoo by field trip, Natalya is excited to come see the Pandas. Like other children, she is coming to the Zoo to learn about how conservation efforts are helping keep animals like Pandas from being endangered. In order to find the Pandas, she is offered a map, a phone application, and a directory that makes it easy for her to find the Pandas.

Concepts & Insights

Make an accessible interface for zoo visitors 

By providing a design that is minimal, users can recognize where in the zoo they are

Provide information for users quickly

Presenting information to users quickly can save time so that they can get back to experiencing the zoo.

Users want to find their destinations

Creating design flows and tools to let users achieve their goals. 

Sketches & Ideation

Sketch related to animal icons.
Sketch related to buttons and typography.
Sketch related to screen layouts.

Early field notes and sketches. Iconography, buttons, typography, and screen layouts.

Site map of the Zoo. Full illustration.
Site map of the Zoo. Facility and shops..
Site map of the Zoo. Green dots are locations of interest.

Research Site Map recreated on digital illustration to help visualize the data.

Flow chart defining user flow for the application


The early lo-fi prototype focused on creating a way to teach users to navigating the application. Users would be able to tap on the animal icon and obtain more information. A temporary map was developed.

A low fidelity screen for the login.
A low fidelity screen for the main menu..

Validation, Usability, Feedback


Created a structure to organize usability studies. Conducted usability studies with users to test prototypes.


“I don’t really need to see a way to use the app. I just want to find where I want to go.” –  From a participant that just wanted to find the elephants.


“Where is everything? What do the pictures mean?” –  From a participant that expressed frustration about the usability.



Conducting the low-fidelity designs gave more information regarding the flow of the design. Insights gained are relatively about a lack of user control. By providing more noticable buttons, the experience can be improved. 


Style Guide


255, 255, 255
0, 98, 165
112, 112, 112
248, 150, 31
0, 0, 0
255, 213, 32
Safe Green
111, 190, 68
187, 81, 158
0, 192, 90
234, 62, 65
70, 107, 179
Dark Green
0, 134, 92


  • Informal 011 BT
  • Roboto, Regular, Medium, Bold, Black

Designing the Icons

It was important to capture the general outline and shape of the animals. Some details were left to help distinct a few animals from others.

Finalized Zoo Map


With the insights, feedback, and usability a new iteration of the Zoo Atlanta Map included an optimized flow for users, screen reduction, direct buttons, increased legibility, color changes, and improved layouts.

High-Fidelity Prototype

Experience the design on Adobe XD

Lo-fi Screen on IPhone X. Information Screen..
Lo-fi Screen on IPhone X. Search Screen.

Solution & Impact

The Zoo Atlanta Map application would provide a digital solution to the issues that revolve around paper waste and the overall user experience at Zoo Atlanta. The large impact on the cost of printing and a goal towards a green initiative would benefit the Zoo. Guests and visitors will appreciate a new step to helping their environment, city, and neighbor.


iPhone with map app open to go through zoo.